Sir Robert McAlpine, the main contractor appointed by the South West RDA for White River Place, has begun to erect the three-storey building on South Street which will be followed by the construction of the two residential blocks on Trinity Street from mid-February.
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£31.5 million is being invested in the project by the South West RDA with the rest of the funding coming from White River Developments Ltd. The reinforced concrete frame for the underground 550 space, three-storey car park and retail unit is due to be completed by the end of next month. Two-storey steel frame structures forming the retail units from the newly formed streets (adjacent to Trinity Street and next to White River Cinema) are progressing well on schedule and it is anticipated that these steel structures will be fully erected by mid-February. Roof coverings and external wall finishes will start in early February and continue into the summer months.
Mechanical and electrical installations are currently being installed in the car park together with the construction of block walls to form the main loading bay for retailers, off Trinity Street. Work to connect drains and new services in both Trinity Street and South Street are also due to be carried out.
Phase one of the scheme is now complete with the official opening of the four-screen White River Cinema before Christmas. The next retailer to open within the same building will be Frankie and Benny’s – the New York Italian restaurant and bar. Others confirmed for White River Place include coffee shop Starbucks, fashion outlets New Look and Peacocks, high street bank HBoS and garden and home store Wilkinson. There will be a mix of shops, residential accommodation, restaurants, cafes and bars once complete in the autumn.
Jeremy Dunn, Professional Services Manager for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly at the South West RDA said: “Given the current global financial climate, it is particularly heartening and encouraging to see such excellent progress being made on the St Austell town centre redevelopment scheme, with local contractors and businesses central to its success. Investing in priority places to unlock the business potential of St Austell is the focus for the South West RDA throughout this exciting sustainable project and we very much look forward to its completion later this year.”
Leader of Restormel Borough Council, Annette Egerton commented: “The opening of the new White River Cinema was hugely successful and highly significant in the overall redevelopment of St Austell town centre. It is very pleasing to know that this is the first of many new businesses to open in White River Place and we look forward to more people visiting the town during 2009 to see how we are building a better St Austell.”
Between 500 and 700 new jobs are expected to be created once the scheme is fully open and all retailers trading. The South West RDA and Sir Robert McAlpine are committed to using local subcontractors, materials and suppliers throughout the lifetime of the construction phase.