Last July, local building company Carters offered the Society a chance to look around the Winerack later in the autumn, when it was due to be in its final stages of completion. The tour was limited to twenty people, so I sent round an email to members and received 92 replies! The visit took place in early September with the lucky first twenty in attendance and I managed to secure with Carters two further tours.
On arrival, we were equipped by Carters with ‘high-vis’ clothing and steel toe-cap boots. (I had to give them our shoe sizes, so I share with you that the average shoe size of the Ipswich Society is 8!) We watched a promotional video explaining the problems involved in finishing a ‘ready-made’ structure: the Winerack, as named by the people of Ipswich.
The car stacking system was also explained and that is where our tour began. There are eight storeys of car parking inside the building with space for 250 cars. Residents will drive in from Key Street and park on one of three turntables, remove themselves, their shopping, grandchildren, dogs, etc. from the car and use their key fob to send it on its journey. The turntable twists and delivers the car into one of the (German manufactured) lifts which move it on to one of the storage shelves. It’s a bit like a giant drinks vending machine.
One of the advantages of internal car parking is that the apartments are wrapped around the outside of the building and so have lots of windows – and the views are magnificent! In September the lifts were not finished, so we walked up to the third floor. It was a fine summer evening and the waterfront looked gorgeous. The additional two tours with a further 40 members altogether were in October and by this time there were lifts and we ascended to the 12th floor, of the total of 19. The view was absolutely stunning in the early evening twilight.
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