Waterfront skyline hits new heights

Ipswich's Waterfront skyline has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. Today PAUL GEATER looks at the progress on the three largest sites - and looks at what 2008 holds for them.

Paul Geater

Ipswich's Waterfront skyline has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. Today PAUL GEATER looks at the progress on the three largest sites - and looks at what 2008 holds for them.

DOUBTS may have crept in about the future of the British economy - but there are few signs of anything faltering around Ipswich Waterfront as construction continues on three major projects.

At The Mill, in the former Cranfields Mill development, work on what will eventually be the tallest tower block in Suffolk is now under way.


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The tower will eventually be 23 storeys high, with expensive penthouse flats at the top giving unrivalled views over the whole town - not just the Waterfront. Keith Davies from Wharfside Regeneration, which is building The Mill development, said work was well on target and work on the tower block was under way. He said “The foundations have been set and we have started on the lower storeys. Over the next few weeks and months you will really see it going up.”

The Mill is being built as a single project, including the new dance studio and theatre for Dance East which will be the centrepiece of the development.

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“We are very pleased with how things are going at The Mill - it is all well on target and over the next year people should really notice the changes there,” he said.

Incorporating part of the original Victorian mill in the new development has been a challenge.

Mr Davies said: “That was all part of the brief to develop the site, but it is never easy to include a building that dates from a different era. Essentially all we have used is the outside walls - we had to take out all the floors because they did not meet the needs of the new use of the building.”

On the next site, Regatta Quay on the site of the former Albion Maltings, the first of two 14-storey blocks has now reached its maximum height - although there is much work to be completed there before the first residents can move in.

The first flats on this development to be ready for occupation are those being created in the converted Victorian building - and they should have their first residents by the middle of next year.

Regatta Quay is being built by City Living, whose chairman Garry Coaley was enthusiastic about the speed the development was taking shape.

“We are well on target - this is a development that is very important to us and will transform this part of Ipswich.”

Many flats have already been sold - to people who want to live on the Waterfront rather than those looking for a buy-to-let investment. The second tower at the site should start to go up early next year and be ready for a topping-out ceremony in the summer.

And other parts of the development are also in the pipeline. A Pitcher & Piano wine bar is due to open on the Waterfront early next year, and Regatta Quay will also feature a new home for the Red Rose Theatre Chain, the Witchbottle Theatre.

The new home of University Campus Suffolk (UCS) has now reached its maximum height and is starting to dominate the skyline on the Fore Street/Duke Street area.

It is being built by Stevenage-based Willmott Dixon for UCS, and is well on target to be ready for September next year. A spokeswoman for Willmott Dixon said: “It is a challenging site being so near the water and with other buildings around but it is reasonably large and not too restrictive.

“We are very pleased with the way things are going there and are confident we will be able to hand it over to UCS officials on schedule well in time for its official opening next year.”

The new building will be the face of UCS which officially accepted its first students in September this year. Eventually a second phase of the Waterfront university will be built further along the quayside - but that could be several years away.

The Mill (Cranfields Mill):

Work on the new buildings started in July.

About 105 people are working on the site - but numbers can vary from day to day.

The first flats are expected to be ready for occupation at the end of next year.

The site is due to be finished by early 2010.

The 23-storey tower will be the highest in Suffolk.

There are nearly 400 flats in the development.

It will include a new base and theatre for Dance East.

The Mill is being built by Laing O'Rourke for developers Wharfside Regeneration.

Regatta Quay (Paul's Albion Maltings):

Work on the new buildings start in March.

There are 216 people currently working on the site.

The first flats should be occupied during the first half of next year

The site is due to be finished at the very end of 2009 - or early 2010.

With more than 350 flats it is set to be a landmark in the area.

The first of two 14-storey blocks has now reached its maximum height - although it still needs to be fitted out.

It will include the Witchbottle Theatre for the Red Rose Chain Theatre and a Pitcher and Piano bar.

Regatta Quay is being built by Blenheim House Construction for City Living Properties.

UCS Building.

Work started in June.

Between 50 and 80 construction workers are on the site at any time.

The building should be completed by next summer.

The first students should start using the building in September.

It will be the centrepiece of the new university whose first students arrived three months ago.

The site was previously the Eastern Counties Farmers' Mill.

It is being built by Willmott Dixon for UCS and has now reached its maximum height.

It will eventually be joined by a second major Waterfront university development, nearer Orwell Quay.

Other buildings on the photo

Old Custom House - headquarters of ABP Ipswich.

Waterfront House - headquarters of law firm Ashton Graham.

The Isaac Lord centre - including Isaac's pub.

The Salthouse Harbour Hotel.

Bellway flats development.

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