COMMUNITY and business leaders met on Monday to mark the start of work on One City Place, a six-storey office development at the heart of Chester’s new £100m Central Business Quarter.
The 70,000 sq ft of office space is being developed speculatively by Muse Developments and represents the first of seven office buildings, marking one of Chester’s most significant business developments in the city centre in recent years.
The building, due for completion in October 2015, will feature a large ground floor foyer and reception area with five upper floors offering flexible office space and floor-to-ceiling glazing for natural light.
Work will also start in the next couple of months on remodelling part of the Grade II* listed Chester Railway Station building and former rail car park to create a new, landscaped public area and gateway from the station into the Central Business Quarter.
Phil Mayall, development director at Muse, said: “Starting on site at City Place marks an important chapter in the new Central Business Quarter which will play a major role in the renaissance of Chester’s commercial offering. As an integral part of the business quarter, City Place will help to drive economic growth, bring new businesses and jobs into the city and set new standards for first class, sustainable business space."
Eric Langton, chairman of Chester Renaissance, said: “This is a hugely important development. To attract businesses offering first class jobs and opportunities, Chester has to provide quality accommodation in a convenient location and attractive environment. One City Place, as part of the first phase of the Central Business Quarter, ticks all the boxes. It’s a significant part of the unfolding One City Plan which will give Chester a future to be as proud of as we are of our past.”
Work has already been completed by Cheshire West and Chester Council, working closely with Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, to relocate the rail car park to the east of Chester Railway Station. The new 193 space car park for customers and staff is now located on land bounded by the rear of the Queen Hotel and Queen’s Road.
This autumn, work will commence on hard landscaping, tree and flower bed planting, lighting and the implementation of street furniture running from the Central Business Quarter gateway to One City Place.
Council leader Cllr Mike Jones said: “This new development will help to shape the future of Chester's business landscape. It’s fantastic to see work starting on site.”
By 2028, the city’s Central Business Quarter, as part of the wider One City Plan, should offer a total of 440,000 square feet of state-of-the art office space, creating around 3,500 jobs.
Cllr Samantha Dixon, shadow spokesperson for Growth and Prosperity, said: “I welcome anything which brings jobs to the city and helps drive growth. ”
The whole scheme includes 200 homes, restaurants and leisure facilities and car parking for the station, offices and residents. It also includes the redevelopment of the former leadworks and Shot Tower for residential use by Neptune Developments and the transformation of the Boughton Retail Centre to create a new Waitrose store and associated retail units.