Waterfront casino bid revealed

SUFFOLK'S first casino could be established in Ipswich after a multi-million pound deal was struck for a landmark waterfront site.Colwyn Developments has bought a series of properties and a development site on the town's waterfront from international shipping firm Contship Containerlines and is in talks about opening a casino on the premises.

SUFFOLK'S first casino could be established in Ipswich after a multi-million pound deal was struck for a landmark waterfront site.

Colwyn Developments has bought a series of properties and a development site on the town's waterfront from international shipping firm Contship Containerlines and is in talks about opening a casino on the premises.

The new owners said they were weighing up options for a new hotel, casino and a mixed-use leisure, residential and office development.

Bids have been made to open casinos in Felixstowe, West Row and Newmarket but, at present, there are none in Suffolk.


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Jeremy Goddard, director of the Ipswich-based development and investment company, said: "With changes to gambling laws planned for the near future, the casino option is one we are examining very closely and we've already spoken to one or two interested parties."

Company bosses have described the deal, which was financed by Lloyds TSB Corporate, as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity. It arose following Contship's decision to reorganise its UK operations.

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The landmark Waterfront House, a seven-storey office building, is the centrepiece of the deal, while a 1.88-acre plot of land on Orwell Quay provides one of the last opportunities for more residential and leisure development on the docks.

Mr Goddard said: "Waterfront House remains a stunning building which, because of the planning situation in the surrounding area has pretty much guaranteed views of the quayside.

"This, combined with the quality and size of the space, makes it a prime opportunity for a hotel or leisure company.

"It would be possible for example, to have a bar on the ground floor, a restaurant on the second, a casino on the third, with hotel accommodation above that.

The secondary development site is adjacent to the Redrow residential and leisure development, which is in construction.

It is currently used as a car park and boat yard but Colwyn director Kevin Cattermole believes it has greater potential.

"The site is one of the few remaining development opportunities at Ipswich waterfront and requires investment of between £40m and £50m to realise its potential as a mixed-use scheme," he said.

"We are currently in negotiations with a national company and we hope that a deal will be announced soon."

Colwyn won the sale for Waterfront House, originally a grain store until being converted into offices in the 1980s, and the associated Contship properties after a process involving sealed bids.

Mr Goddard said: "As you would expect competition to get involved in the project was fierce and our ability to take up the opportunity was thanks in no small part to Lloyds TSB Corporate."

Headline projects for the £350m Ipswich waterfront regeneration project include the Redrow development at Neptune Quay, Felaw Maltings, the Salthouse Harbour Hotel, the Ipswich Haven Marina and the £5.8m new premises for Dance East at the former Cranfield's Mill site.

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