There is a new high-flying addition to Preston’s skyline – a 45-metre crane that indicates work is progressing well on Friargate’s ambitious £18 million regeneration project.
The crane has been installed by city-based firm the Eric Wright Group and will play a key role in work to turn Portergate Development’s blueprint for the site into a stylish mixed-use scheme.
The transformation of the strategic 1.5 acre site will deliver three new retail premises and a 244-bedroomed building providing boutique hotel-style accommodation aimed at local students and employees of Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone.
The crane will be used to lift the scheme’s giant steel framework into place and will remain on site until the Friargate development is completed next year.
Portergate’s Chairman Anthony Jackson said: “The arrival of the crane is another milestone in our development work on the site, which is now really gathering pace.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a crane of this size on the City Centre Skyline and it’s another welcome sign of the regeneration that we’re beginning to see here and nearby with the University of Central Lancashire’s work on its Gateway project.
“The more cranes you see on the skyline the greater the Investment in a City and we hope to see our machine joined by many others in the future. It’s exciting times both for us as a company and for this historic part of Preston.”
The aesthetically-pleasing retail and apartment complex has been designed around open garden areas while being conveniently located in the heart of the city, only a short walk from the University of Central Lancashire.
Stephen Harding, site manager for Eric Wright Construction, said: “It has taken us a couple of weeks to get the crane in place and piecing it together on site is a construction project in its own right!
“The crane will assist us with our heavy-duty lifting work throughout the build process and people will soon see the steel framework starting to take shape.”
At the height of the project around 200 workers will be employed on the Friargate development site.
Portergate, which already offers hotel-class student accommodation in Salford, has plans to roll its luxury accommodation concept out across the North West of England.