AquiGen secures first regeneration scheme
08 September 2011
Development will include Waitrose and John Lewis at home stores and create 1,500 jobs
AquiGen has completed the purchase of its first site, a redundant 44 acre factory site in Ipswich, which it will redevelop to create a vibrant new business park.
Created in partnership between developers and investors Generator Group and Aquila House Holdings, AquiGen Real Estate Solutions will focus on a drive to purchase and regenerate stressed and distressed sites with the potential for mixed-use redevelopment schemes.
Planning permission is due to be submitted at the end of September 2011 for the demolition of all existing buildings, followed by the regeneration of the site to provide a fully re-landscaped business park with new estate roads, green spaces and 600,000 square feet of retail and commercial floor space with a mix of office, industrial and warehousing/distribution units.
Managing Director, Paul Isaacs, comments: “This is a £multi-million regeneration project on brownfield land that will involve significant demolition and decontamination and will result in a rejuvenated landscape with new infrastructure and open spaces. This is the first venture of what we hope will be many regeneration ventures for AquiGen.”
A pre-let agreement for the Ipswich site is already in place for a new 26,500 square foot Waitrose store and a 43,000 square foot John Lewis at home shop on approximately 10 acres of the land, with the John Lewis Partnership taking an active role as partners in the consultation and planning stages. The John Lewis at home shop and Waitrose store will create approximately 300 jobs for the town.
In addition, planning is being sought for a 60,000 square feet non food, bulky goods retail unit for which a tenant is still to be secured.
10 hectares (25 acres) of serviced employment land will be made available for employment-led uses and is expected to create a further 1,200 jobs.
The involvement of John Lewis at home and Waitrose is important as it provides the enabling development for this regeneration project. This supports the remediation, associated infrastructure and development of employment land, without which the site would not be viable and would remain a derelict eyesore.
Isaacs adds: “This provides an exciting opportunity not only to bring to life a redundant area of land in Ipswich, but to create a development that will attract major businesses and stimulate employment, helping to boost the local economy.”
Consultation with the local communities was undertaken throughout August and careful consideration has been given to the affect on the public of the proposed scheme. Plans include creating increased access via public transport as well as improving road infrastructure in the surrounding area. The response to the consultation was overwhelmingly positive, with 90 per cent of local residents and businesses unreservedly supporting the scheme.
Construction of the new development will be in line with the John Lewis Partnership’s Sustainable Construction Framework.
Tony Chambers, AquiGen’s Chairman, says: “There is a huge amount of redundant land out there and tackling that problem can bring huge benefits to businesses and communities. The fact the response from the public consultation in Ipswich was so positive, shows that local people want to see this derelict land put to good use. This is an encouraging sign as we look to actively acquire more sites throughout the South East and the surrounding areas.”
Acting for AquiGen were Freedmans Law and Coke Gearing and acting for BDO, the Administrators, were DLA Piper and CBRE.