Work is underway on a new public square next to the #BuiltByGMI apartment block at the £200m Becketwell regeneration project in Derby city centre.
GMI Construction were joined by developers St James Securities as well as representatives from Derby City Council, D2N2, and other key stakeholders at a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of building works on Springwell Square, which will be located on the site of the former Central United Reformed Church.
Springwell Square will be the centrepiece of the #BuiltByGMI development, adjacent to the two-bedroom Build to Rent (BTR) apartments, currently being built on the site previously occupied by Debenhams on Victoria Street.
The development will be operated by Grainger PLC, the UK’s largest residential landlord, and is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2023.
Future planned phases at the site include new grade A offices and commercial space, 3,500-capacity performance venue, a hotel and a multi-storey car park.
Delighted to see work begin on the multi-purpose square, GMI Divisional Managing Director Andy Bruce said: “Over £1m is being spent on the square and it will make a massive difference to the area, with its high-quality finish and landscaping making it a real focal point for the development.
“In terms of the apartment block itself, the interior is progressing at a great rate of Knots, and it’s a job that we’re going to be extremely proud of when it’s finished.
“It has really kick-started the re-development of the Becketwell area of Derby, which has been needed, and is a welcome boost to the East Midlands.”
Growing their portfolio of public and private clients in the Midlands, GMI were awarded the contract worth £30m by St James Securities ahead of the demolition work, which started in March 2021.
“This is yet another job we’ve secured in the East Midlands on top of those including a Bottling Plant at Dove Valley Foston, which we’re working on for a German Client,” added Bruce.
“It’s a really exciting time for GMI in the Midlands.”
Anticipated to create more than 2,000 jobs, the regeneration scheme has been given a ringing endorsement by Steve Hassall, Member of Regeneration, Decarbonisation & Strategic & Transport Cllr.
He said: “It’s great to see the building itself going up, but it is also great to see the ground-breaking on the public square, which will be open for the public to enjoy.
“For a lot of years, this particular area of the city has languished as a bit of a forgotten piece of the city, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for this site to be utilised like it has never been before.
“We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with GMI throughout the process, with quality of work and timescales second to none.
“It’s a real testament to everyone on site that things are on target.”
The most significant development in Derby city centre since the Westfield Centre in 2007, considerable planning has gone into ensuring work is both sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Strict noise, dust, vibration monitoring and environmental controls have been put in place to minimise the impact on surrounding businesses and properties.
David Williams, Deputy Chair of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “It’s one of those really good examples of collaborative working between the City Council, developer and contractor.
“Considering this is an enormous development in the middle of quite a tight area, the impact on the city has been minimal.
“I haven’t heard of any issues at all, so I think it’s a fantastic achievement.”
Explaining how the square will benefit the area, Director of St James Securities Paul Morris said: “We’re delighted to see construction work start on schedule as we move to the next stage of this landmark regeneration scheme for the City of Derby.
“Over the past five years, we have been real trailblazers, prepared to take on a site that has been challenged for many years and put together a scheme which will breathe new life into the area.
“Springwell Square will open up land to the south and bring it back into use. It will be a place where people can meet and relax in an informal space, and it will improve the vibrancy and attraction of the city centre.”