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HCA boss praises Durham's £27m ice rink redevelopment
A REGENERATION chief has heaped praise on a £27m scheme to replace Durham’s former ice rink with offices.
Robert Napier, chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), visited the Freeman’s Reach site to inspect progress on the Durham Riverside Renewal Project today (Tuesday, September 24).
Afterwards, he said: “I was very impressed with the high quality of the site management and the team running the project.
“It was one of the best sites I’ve visited for some time.”
The former home of Durham Wasps ice hockey team, the site has stood idle since a bowling alley closed in 2009.
A consortium led by Carillion Developments, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP won planning permission to demolish the eyesore building and construct 9,500sq metres of office space, a visitors’ centre and cafe in March.
Phase one, a four-storey block, will be occupied by about 400 National Savings and Investments workers following their move across the River Wear from Milburngate House in 2015.
The second, five-storey block depends on tenants being found.
It is hoped the project will create or protect around 800 jobs.
Work began on site in May. Demolition has now finished and construction is under way.
The HCA, England’s national housing and regeneration body, is supporting the scheme.
Mr Napier was given a tour of the site, inspecting work on offices and a hydro-turbine.
It is hoped the Archimedes Screw, built on the former site of the now-demolished medieval Bishop’s Mill, will generate about three-quarters of the offices’ energy.
Mr Napier said: “It’s fantastic to see how our investment has attracted such high quality partners as Carillion Developments and Arlington Real Estate, which are creating 300 construction jobs and safeguarding many other jobs for the future.”
Neil McMillan, director of Carillion Development, said he was delighted to welcome Mr Napier.
“The HCA has been very supportive of our vision to regenerate the riverside by creating an attractive, sustainable development that will prove to be a catalyst for further regeneration and additional inward investment for this part of the city.”
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