CONSTRUCTION work will begin today on a £100m scheme to kick-start Chester’s economic revival.
The first of seven office blocks, called One City Place, is expected to be operational by next year, with the remaining buildings completed by 2028.
The overall development, located near the railway station, will be known as the Central Business Quarter and is expected to create 3,500 jobs.
Business leaders in the city also hope it will attract heavyweight companies and help revive Chester’s stumbling economy.
Dignitaries from Cheshire West and Chester Council are due to join managers from developers Muse to mark the start of the first office construction this morning.
One City Place will occupy a 3.5 acre site and stand six-storeys tall.
The news was welcomed by Bob Clough-Parker, secretary of Chester Business Club, who told the Leader: “This very welcome initiative will contribute significantly to Chester's economic revival.
“It represents part of a basket of much-needed and overdue developments in Chester and taken as a whole it seems there is a real prospect of city businesses being able to flourish in what is still a fairly harsh business market.”
Phil Mayall, development director for Muse Developments, said: “City Place is a bold move for Chester and represents the most significant new commercial office-led development the city has seen to date.
“The new building will form a key part of the new business community and unite state-of-the-art technology and 21st century design and architecture with the city’s rich heritage.”
The project will also involve the provision of new public space which will link the scheme with Chester Railway Station and the Shropshire Union Canal.
It will include the remodelling of part of the Grade II* listed station and adjoining Queen Hotel complex to create a new landscaped gateway from the station into the Central Business Quarter.
Besides the offices, there will also be 200 homes, restaurants, leisure facilities, and car parking both for the station, offices and residents. The former Leadworks and Shot Tower will be redeveloped for residential use and the Boughton Retail Centre will become a new Waitrose supermarket.
Andrew Slaney, of construction company Seddon, said: “We are delighted to be involved in one of the most significant developments Chester has seen for many years.
“City Place will transform this part of the city into a new and vibrant commercial centre, and will be a fantastic place for business to call their home for generations to come.
“This is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved with the project.
“We are looking forward to working with Muse to bring the scheme to life.”
The Central Business Quarter forms part of the One City Plan – a 15-year vision to create a world class city.