Ipswich: More jobs in store as six new tenants sign up for Futura Park
- Credit: Archant
THE struggling Ipswich retail economy has been given a shot in the arm with plans being finalised for the second phase of a major retail and business park, bringing the prospect of new jobs for the town.
Deals are now done for all six of the retail units in phase two of Futura Park where a flagship John Lewis Partnership complex is based.
The ambitious plans for the old Crane engineering works site started taking shape in the latter stages of last year, when the scheme’s “anchor tenants”, Waitrose and John Lewis at home moved into a large, purpose-built retail unit in phase one, creating hundreds of new jobs.
They are already proving an economic success story, and developers AquiGen say they are a magnet for other businesses and jobs.
The retailers who have signed up to phase two are furniture store DFS, Paul Simon Curtains, Furniture Village, Oak Furniture Land, Costa Coffee and Carphone Warehouse.
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The John Lewis at home and Waitrose stores, which opened to the public last November, now employ 350 people and trading has been strong since their launch.
Ipswich-based Barnes Construction has been appointed as a site contractor for the second phase, and AquiGen says nearly all the jobs created by the building works will be filled by people from the nearby area.
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AquiGen managing director Paul Isaacs said: “The retail sector at large is suffering at present, so we are greatly encouraged by the success of Futura Park. The fact that the retail space in phase two was pre-let so quickly demonstrates the appeal of the development. The new stores in phase two will create yet further jobs, ensuring that Futura Park brings lasting regeneration and prosperity to this area of Ipswich.”
Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “We have worked hard to ensure we provide our customers with quality products, excellent service and value so we play our part in attracting shoppers to Ipswich.
“The reaction we have received both at Futura Park and at our little Waitrose in the town centre has been fantastic. In what has undoubtedly been a challenging time for businesses, it’s important to ensure that Ipswich as a whole remains a popular shopping destination so it’s encouraging to that the town continues to attract major investment like Futura Park.”
Futura Park, between Ransomes Way and Nacton Road, occupies the site of the former Crane foundry to the south east of the town centre and is set to provide 44 acres of new business and retail space.
The development’s first phase was a 26,500sq ft Waitrose and a 43,000sq ft John Lewis at home, the first combined format opened by the partnership.
The 66,000 sq ft of retail space in phase two has been quickly pre-let to tenants. Construction is due to start in April and the stores are expected to open in August.
Outline planning permission has also been granted for 25 acres of employment land to accommodate up to 600,000 square feet of new offices, warehousing and industrial space, with the potential to create hundreds of further jobs.
Crane Boulevard, a new road link for Futura Park, is due to be officially opened on Thursday.