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Princes Street starting to achieve its potential as Ipswich commercial hub

PUBLISHED: 15:57 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:04 05 September 2017

The new Birketts building (right) opposite the former Drum and Monkey and garage site which is due to be redeveloped in Princes Street. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new Birketts building (right) opposite the former Drum and Monkey and garage site which is due to be redeveloped in Princes Street. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

The news that work could start early next year on converting the former Hollywood nightclub into offices will give a massive boost to the Princes Street commercial corridor in Ipswich.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere. Picture: SU ANDERSONIpswich council leader David Ellesmere. Picture: SU ANDERSON

The news comes just as the first tenant is moving into the landmark Connexions block on the junction of Princes Street and Commercial Road – and as work on the new Birketts headquarters nears completion.

Princes Street was earmarked as the town’s new commercial centre in the Ipswich Vision document – with access from the railway station at one end and with insurance giants Willis and Axa as well as the town centre at the other.

It is already home to the offices of Ipswich Star publisher Archant, which moved to Portman House last October, and to pensions giant Suffolk Life as well as other offices in St Clare House and Franciscan House.

And there is more to come – the land opposite the new Birketts building, including the old Drum and Monkey pub and the garage next door, is due to ultimately be redeveloped as offices when the demand exists.

The Archant office (left) and other office blocks in Princes Street. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe Archant office (left) and other office blocks in Princes Street. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Outline planning permission has been obtained to develop the garage site – but that will only go ahead when a long-term tenant is lined up to take on most of the building – but it could include ground-floor retail and cafes as well as office space above.

Ipswich council owns the land opposite Birketts – and also owns the freehold of other buildings in the area so it benefits from success of the Princes Street buildings.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “The Princes Street Corridor is a key priority of the Ipswich Vision group and the borough council has a good track record in enabling development here through investing in property to boost economic growth and jobs.

“We are pleased to see tenants lined up for the Connexions building in Princes Street and to see building work progressing on the Birketts HQ – our role was vital in making these projects happen.”

The borough is also hoping to build a new multi-storey car park in the area to cope with increased demand from more offices.

This will either be built on part of the Portman Road car park, which it owns, or on the site of the West End Road surface car park which also serves the railway station and has become popular over recent years.

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