Work begins on £18m regeneration project in Preston
Work is set to start on a £18 million regeneration project which will transform the Friargate area of Preston following the appointment of the construction company which won the contract to turn the vision into reality.
Portergate Properties has appointed long-established Preston-based builder the Eric Wright Group to deliver the ambitious mixed-use development.
The appointment follows Portergate’s pledge to utilise the skills of as many local companies as possible on the landmark scheme, which will be the biggest building project in the city.
The transformation of the strategic, but run-down 1.5 acre site will bring two new retail premises and the creation of a 253 bedroomed building aimed at providing boutique hotel-style accommodation to students at the nearby University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Part of that high-quality accommodation on offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.
Portergate, which already offers hotel-class student accommodation in Salford and has plans to roll its concept out across the North West, believes the Friargate scheme will play a major role in reviving the area.
Eric Wright Group’s Construction Division has been appointed to the scheme and plans to start demolition work on the site in late autumn. The whole project will take 12-14 months to deliver.
Eric Wright is a leading construction and civil engineering group with a strong track record of delivery in high-profile development projects.
Anthony Jackson, chairman of Portergate Properties, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Eric Wright Construction to deliver our vision for Friargate.
“The appointment underlines our commitment to utilising the skills of local companies wherever possible during the construction work, helping to create and secure local jobs in the sector. That is very important to us as a North West company.
“This will be the biggest building project in Preston and the development will play a key role in our continued expansion plans in the North West viagra online usa.
“Once completed it will provide boutique hotel-style accommodation, not only for students but also for young key workers in the city, where we believe there is a real demand for this type of living space.
“Our aim throughout the project is to play a major role in transforming the fortunes of the Friargate area and our hope is that our development and commitment will encourage further investment.”
He added: “We went through a detailed and thorough process to ensure that we have appointed the very best firm to deliver this important development project.”
friargatefloorplan2John Wilson, managing director of Eric Wright Construction, said: “The fact we have been appointed to such a high-profile scheme in our home city is fantastic news.
“Portergate has done an amazing job in moving this development forward and we can’t wait to get started to turn their vision into reality.
“The development on Friargate is a great site and will be high quality, well-designed buildings that will play a big part in the regeneration of that quarter of the city.
“It is good to see the commitment to local firms being appointed to such a major development for the city, but we still had to be competitive and put in a compelling bid.
“It is also great to see people investing in Preston and its future.”
At the height of the building project around 200 workers will be employed on the Friargate development site.
The aesthetically pleasing shop and apartment complex has been designed around open garden areas while being conveniently in the heart of the city, only a short walk from the University of Central Lancashire.
The development plan has been created by Manchester architecture practice Leach Rhodes Walker.
Christian Gilham, director at Manchester-based architects Leach Rhodes Walker, said: “We are delighted to have concluded negotiations with Eric Wright Construction to build this exciting new development of state-of-the-art student accommodation in Preston.
“We see the landmark design as a catalyst for regeneration in the area and one of the first new developments to come forward in the city for some time.
“The design is a high quality, cutting edge scheme, which will provide 21st century quality of accommodation in the city.”
The Friargate project builds on the success of Portergate’s debut building Riverside House. The luxury accommodation on the banks of the Irwell in Salford has been a major success since it opened its doors to students last year.
Anthony Jackson says Friargate is part of a wider growth plan for his company. He said: “There is strong, growing demand for quality properties from investors, something we have seen since the beginning of our successful £16 million Riverside House project in Salford.
“We’re already seeing major investment in our concept of luxury boutique hotel accommodation in towns and cities with thriving universities and growing student populations.
“Investors are also looking at the growing importance of the university sector to the UK’s economy and the rising number of overseas students being attracted here.
“The student accommodation sector is seeing continuing growth and is a real property success story in the UK.
“Our business model has received a terrific response from overseas investors. They see the UK as a solid and strong place in which to invest their money.”