Sailmakers shopping centre on target for Christmas relaunch

Work underway at Tower Ramparts, Ipswich

Work underway at Tower Ramparts, Ipswich

The completion of the rebuilding work at Ipswich town centre’s Tower Ramparts is on schedule – and the shopping centre is due to be relaunched as “Sailmakers” at the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The £4m rebuilding scheme at the centre is nearing completion and contractors Barnes Construction are due to complete their work during the second half of November.

Centre managers are hopeful that Sailmakers will be ready to attract thousands of shoppers once the town’s Christmas lights are lit from November 19.

And more units in the centre are filling up – Blue Inc has moved in, across from its former site in the Buttermarket Centre.

Meanwhile at the Buttermarket New Look is almost ready to move to its new unit created as the first part of its £10m redevelopment as a leisure-based centre containing a 16-screen Empire cinema.

Blue Inc is the fifth new tenant at Tower Ramparts in the past 12 months, creating a total of 50 new jobs.

The new Sailmakers name has been designed to reflect Ipswich’s maritime heritage and the shopping centre’s position at the northern end of the new shopping quarter leading to the Waterfront.

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As part of the improvements, new entrances are being created and the lighting is being upgraded. The Crown Street entrance, façade and windows will be remodelled, based on the shape of a sail.

Blue Inc has more than 200 stores nationwide. Manager Vicky Heath, who ran the old store at the Buttermarket for the past three years, said: “The move has been fantastic and we’re advertising for more staff as the premises here are bigger so we will be taking on an extra five people to bring us up to nine.”

The opening of Blue Inc has been welcomed by Centre Manager Mike Sorhaindo who said: “This is a real boost for us we look forward to relaunching as the Sailmakers Shopping Centre and it’s also great news for the local economy with more new jobs being created here.”

More new units are expected to be fitted out in Sailmakers before the makeover is complete – and these are expected to include the return of a coffee shop/food outlet within the next few weeks.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement welcomed the news that the work is nearly complete.

He said: “This is the first major piece in the jigsaw that should see a major improvement in Ipswich town centre. I am delighted that shoppers in the town will be able to enjoy the new centre over the Christmas period – and there is much more to come for the town centre.”

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