If you have driven into Grimwade Street recently you will have noticed building work being carried out, just south of the junction with St Helens Street. Barnes Construction have been converting St Andrew's House, the 1930s building at the back of the old County Hall, into 35 one bedroom and 17 two bedroom flats. The original three storey building had a fourth floor added in the 1970s and all four have now become residential accommodation. Following the £5 million conversion for Iceni Homes, the building gets a new name: Anton House.
IBC have purchased the former Sugar Beet site, Sproughton Road, for a reported £10 million (it was originally sold by British Sugar for £18 million). There will be an expected £8 million additional expenditure on site clearance (demolishing the silos) and decontamination.
The vendor was effectively NAMA (the Irish Government's bad debt holding company, the National Asset Management Agency) who also own The Mill (Cranfield's) and until recently the Wine Rack (Regatta Quay or as it should be known - Albion Wharf).
The Wine Rack or Regatta Quay
Firstly let's get rid of both of these silly names and use something historical, with a bit more meaning, like Albion Wharf.
The Wine Rack was sold to John Howard (Suffolk) subject to planning, which has now been granted. At the Planning meeting the agent promised:
- The building will be fully clad within 12 months
- The 'stack' car park system will be implemented
- The space allocated as a theatre (originally for the Red Rose Chain who have subsequently built a new theatre at Gipping Hall) may be utilised as intended, although the final decision has not been made. It could be converted to office space.
- The Concrete Frame is Structurally Sound.
We do know that John Howard has been in negotiation with builders and suppliers to move things forward. This information came from the November minutes of the Planning Committee and thus is somewhat dated; things should by now be progressing. The work you've probably seen going on in the car park is actually for the adjoining site. The car parking for the shell building is within the core.
13.4% of town centre shops are currently vacant (December 2014 figure).
The Gatehouse in Northgate Street, opposite the library, will be opening to the public again on the first Saturday of each month from May to October 2015 between 10.30 and 12.30. This 15th century building is a rare and valuable survival of medieval Ipswich and well worth a visit - children especially are intrigued by the hidden stairway. Ipswich Society volunteers to assist with these open days are always welcome - please contact email@example.com