Waterfront scheme is safe from demolition

THE administrators of the company behind the Regatta Quay development on the Ipswich Waterfront have denied suggestions that part of the structure might have to be demolished.

Construction work on the project ground to a halt last autumn amid the recession, with much of the development having stood as an empty concrete shell ever since.

City Living Developments (Ipswich) Ltd, the company responsible for the development, went into administration at the start of this year, leaving little prospect of building work restarting until a buyer for the site is found.

However, there were fears that the long-term exposure of the concrete to the weather could cause irreversible damage, and mean the shell might have to be covered, or even demolished.

But a spokesman for accountancy firm Grant Thornton, three of whose corporate recovery team are joint administrators of City Living, has dismissed the concerns as wide of the mark, meaning the building will remain as it is until a buyer is found.

“Although the future of the unfinished concrete shell has not yet been decided there is, in structural terms, no reason why it should have to be pulled down,” he said.

Residents of the completed apartments within the Regatta Quay development, who moved in from early last year, are not directly affected by the administration.

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However in April this year, they found themselves without electricity for around 24 hours after EDF Energy disconnected the supply as a result of a dispute with City Living over an unpaid bill.

The move also left residents without water, with the supply relying on an electrically operated pump.

However, power was restored following the intervention of fire chiefs, concerned that the development had been left without working fire alarms or smoke detectors.

Businesses operating from completed units at Regatta Quay, which include the Waterfront and Quayside restaurants, and a branch of Pizza Express, are also continuing to trade normally.

In addition to the uncompleted residential element of the development, Regatta Quay was also due to include an 88-bedroom hotel for budget operator Travelodge and a 220-seat theatre for the Ipswich-based Red Rose Chain theatre and film company.

Travelodge is now looking to develop a hotel on Duke Street and the Red Rose chain has also found another base for the foreseeable future.

n Prospects for further progress on the regeneration of the Ipswich Waterfront suffered a further blow in May this year when the company behind the Cranfield Mill development, next door to Regatta Quay, also went into administration.

Although externally much closer to completion than Regatta Quay, around two-thirds of the flats within The Mill also remain unfinished and a number of those which have been completed have yet to sell.

The administrators, in this case from Baker Tilly, described the failure of the company behind the scheme, Wharfside Regeneration, as “an effect of the recession on borrowings and perhaps the surplus of properties at the time”.

Residents and tenants within The Mill development, which includes the DanceEast Jerwood Dance House complex, are not affected.

However, with no buyer for the site likely to be found until a substantial upturn in the property market is in prospect, The Mill, like Regatta Quay, is set to remain unfinished for months, and possibly years, to come.