Ipswich: Search on to find more finance for Waterfront

IPSWICH: The administrator set to take control of the whole Regatta Quay/Mill site on the Waterfront will be looking for finance to complete the work on site once a new masterplan has been drawn up next year.

Nigel Millar, of Baker Tilly, will be administering both sites after officials from Ireland’s National Asset Management Authority (NAMA) decided to combine them into a single unit.

And having seen how advanced the development was when building work on both sites stopped in 2009, NAMA believes it should be possible to finish the project reasonably soon.

Mr Millar said: “The finance to complete that work could come from one of two sources. Either the administrators could finish some or all of the project and then sell the flats and commercial space, or we could find developers to take on the project.”

The masterplan is due to be completed by the administrators and property agents Savills early next spring – and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer is encouraged that things might happen sooner rather than later.

He said: “The important thing is that NAMA have been here and seen what we are talking about. They were impressed by how far advanced the work is and now, rather than waiting years for any movement, they are seeing this as a priority.

“Once the masterplan is produced, I really hope we will see things start to happen. There are some flats in the older part of Regatta Quay that are just about complete – they even have fitted kitchens and are just waiting for carpets to be laid.”

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Mr Gummer said that while the development was very large for Ipswich, it represented a small fraction of the debts to Irish banks being handled by NAMA. The importance of the visit was that NAMA now saw the Waterfront as one of their more advanced projects.

Mr Gummer said: “They are expecting to take seven to 10 years to realise all the assets of the Irish banks and there was a danger before that Ipswich could be near the bottom of that list – now it’s near the top.”

n Are you hopeful about the future of the Waterfront? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk