A £50 million mixed-use development set to catalyse regeneration in Waterside area of Leicester has been completed by Morgan Sindall Construction.

The main contractor has been working with developer Charles Street Buildings Group (CSB) and Leicester City Council on the four-and-half-acre site since 2018.

Known as Great Central Square, the scheme is seen by the local authority as key to revitalising an under-utilised area of the city, while boosting the overall visitor economy and business community.  A programme of highway works to construct a super crossing over Vaughan Way was carried out initially by Morgan Sindall Construction, to facilitate safe access for pedestrians and cyclists over the ring road, to the north west of the city centre.

Included amongst the new development are two major new hotels, both operated by the Accor hospitality group. A 10-storey Novotel offers 154 bedrooms and a variety of indoor facilities including a gym, meeting rooms, and a ground floor bar and restaurant. While an Aparthotel Adagio boasts 95 luxury studio or one-bed apartments, spread over six floors.

Another key building in the scheme is a new five-storey commercial development called No.1 Great Central Square, which provides 33,000 square feet of modern Grade A office space. It was handed over eight weeks early last November, allowing it to host the launch event of the prestigious Leicester Business Festival.

In addition to the work carried out by Morgan Sindall Construction, CSB has carried out its own building work to renovate and repurpose the disused Great Central Railway Station, while also delivering a car park for the new hotels and office block.

National property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard worked in partnership with the main contractor throughout.

During early excavation work, CSB commissioned University of Leicester Archaeology Services to assess the site. They discovered a significant number of Roman artefacts which have been preserved.

The architects involved in the scheme were Stephen George + Partners which acted as master planners and designed the office and station; Leech Rhodes Walker which designed the hotels; and the Andrew Davis Partnership which designed the Great Central Square public realm.

Richard Frape, Project Director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Delivering a mixed-use regeneration scheme comprising leisure, retail and commercial space of this scale in less than two years has required a truly collaborative approach from everyone involved. The local authority and Charles Street Buildings have been great customers to work for and our consultants in the supply chain deserve credit too.

“The finished project is one which evidences Morgan Sindall Construction’s ability to design and build both the flagship developments befitting of a city centre prime site, and the accompanying infrastructure work vital to ensuring they’re well-received and accessible.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have completed on schedule for the start of the New Year and confident Great Central Square will play an important role in Leicester’s continued economic development for decades to come.”

Joseph Murphy, director at CSB, said: “Having worked for a number of years through various possible use cases for the site, we’re naturally delighted that Great Central Square is finally complete. Building work concluded on several elements ahead of schedule, so we’ve already had healthy occupier interest in the commercial space. Public reception of the newly-opened hotels has been incredibly positive too.

“The local authority has taken a holistic view to revitalising the Waterside area of Leicester, with the connectivity investment key to this. As a family business with deep local roots, we’re incredibly proud that this development can be the catalyst to drive this long-term strategy and we look forward to working with the council on future schemes in the city.”

Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said: “I am delighted that the city council has been able work closely so with local developer Charles Street Buildings and contractors Morgan Sindall Construction on the major redevelopment of this important site. They have been thoroughly professional and a brilliant team to work with.

“The ambitious scheme has helped to transform a long-neglected part of Leicester and, by incorporating major highway and public realm improvements, has created an attractive new gateway between the city centre and the Waterside regeneration area.” Graeme Milligan, Director at Pick Everard said: “We’re delighted that the scheme is now complete, creating 100 new jobs for the city. It’s a real regeneration success story for the city and I’m sure we’ll see a huge increase in tourists and businesses visit Leicester as a result.”


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BDC 311 : Dec 2023