‘Winerack’ on Ipswich Waterfront set to be ready in two​ years

Winerack development, cgi Ipswich

Winerack development, cgi Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Could this be the stunning view of the Ipswich Winerack in two years’ time?

The developer of the project, John Howard, hopes to start work on the scheme to finish the skeletal building in January next year – and for the project to be completed within 18 months.

If he succeeds in his vision, there will be an impressive new view across the Wet Dock from the Island site with a new frontage matching the historic Albion Mill that was restored as part of the original scheme before its developers went into administration.

And Mr Howard intends to retain the Winerack name that was coined for the building by the Ipswich Star, after the skeleton was left unfinished when developers City Living went into administration in 2009.

He outlined his plans to business leaders at a special brunch meeting organised by the Suffolk and Ipswich Chambers of Commerce on Friday – and said that homes in the Winerack would range in price from about £120,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to about £400,000 for a top-class luxury flat.

And he explained why he decided to stick to the unofficial name that had caught on since it was first used to describe the building in 2010.

“To be honest, everyone calls it that and is likely to carry on calling it that, so we thought ‘why change it’?”

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There are still some final details to be agreed before work can start – but it will be a major job. It will take three months to install the scaffolding that is needed before work can fully start.

The plans for the work were welcomed by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who said Mr Howard’s decision to go ahead was a vote of confidence in the future of the town.

He said: “John has put his own money into this because he is committed to the development – it is not like the situation before where it was all financed by banks.

“Before the recession the Irish banks were not putting up 90% or even 100% of the funds – they were putting up to 105% of the costs of the work. John is, of course, getting money from banks but he is also financing this with his own money as well.

“That really shows confidence in the town and the Waterfront and I am delighted things are starting to happen there.”

The Chamber meeting, at Ipswich Town Football Club, brought together business and civic leaders to give them the chance to discuss the town’s prospects – especially in the wake of the referendum decision.

It also heard an update from Mr Gummer about the plans for the Lower Orwell Crossing – the consultation process for which was started by the county council at the end of June.

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