Future of high rise shrouded in mystery

MYSTERY surrounds the future of one of Ipswich's most distinctive buildings today.St Francis Tower, the 16-storey tower block in Franciscan Way, is believed to be up for sale for a seven figure sum of around £1m.

MYSTERY today surrounds the future of one of Ipswich's most distinctive buildings.

St Francis Tower, the 16-storey tower block in Franciscan Way, is believed to be up for sale for around £1million.

It is thought that a number of potential buyers have already expressed an interest in purchasing the block, one of the town's tallest buildings, which has been a familiar landmark since it was built in the mid-1960s.

One of the developers said to have made an inquiry is Redrow Homes, which is currently involved in much of the work on the Ipswich Wet Dock.


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But any purchaser of the tower will not only be taking on board 107 self-contained flats. They will also be buying the legacy of a block which has been dubbed a "white elephant".

The uncertainty surrounding the tower follows the death of Paul Decker, the director of Hove-based Fairland Investments Limited, which owns the freehold.

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Mr Decker died on September 30. Ownership of the tower will pass on to his family, but residents of St Francis Tower have received letters about the uncertainty and have been told it could be sold.

Staff at Elsom Woodward & Spettigue (EWS), in Falcon Street, Ipswich, which manages the residential side of the building, have remained tight-lipped about its future.

A spokesman for the company said it would be premature at this stage to say what its future would be following Mr Decker's death.

When the tower was built it was hailed as part of the Greyfriars showcase.

However, increasingly over the past 20 years it has been seen as a good way of providing those on lower incomes with affordable short-term accommodation.

The sale of the tower block could lead to a re-housing problem for tenants, many of whom are trying to get a first foot on the property ladder.

In the past five years alone the building has been the scene of numerous fires and two suicides.

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