Work will start next month on a major new office development in Friar Gate assisted by Derby City Council’s Regeneration Fund. The fund is providing investment to facilitate the first phase of prestigious grade A office development within the historic Friar Gate Conservation area, known as Friar Gate Square.  The new development by Lowbridge (Derby) Ltd will re-establish this historic quarter as a key location for business and living.  Situated in a highly prominent location on the corner of Agard Street and Ford Street, the scheme will deliver significant economic and environmental benefits to Derby and will be the first high quality speculative office development delivered in the city in the last 20 years, changing the profile of the city centre office market.  Potentially, the completed first phase of the Friar Gate office development could create around 250 jobs.

Friar Gate Square will comprise a landmark two phase office development, with Phase One providing 2,995 sq.m (32,000 sq.ft) of flexible, contemporary office accommodation over six storeys.  Phase Two will follow after the successful letting of Phase One.  The offices will conform to BREEAM “excellent” standards and include car & cycle parking and major public realm enhancements and linkages to the wider city area.  The development will both complement and be sympathetic to the surrounding Friar Gate Conservation Area.  Through the introduction of high quality and modern architecture, the development will ensure this historic area’s much needed long-term vitality and prosperity with the creation of new economic activity.

Councillor Phillip Hickson, Leader of Derby City Council said, "This project will deliver major regeneration benefits and provide an enormous boost for the city.  The Council has an ongoing commitment to stimulating the economy in Derby and the purpose of the regeneration fund is to help kick-start schemes which otherwise might not start because of the economic climate.  If we encourage developers to start work on new schemes, they will become a catalyst for others to follow and the city will benefit from the major inward investment that is generated."

Adam Wilkinson, Chief Executive at Derby City Council, said, “We are delighted that the Friar Gate Square development will be starting on site in February.  There has been considerable work to get to this point and this will be the first major scheme to start with the assistance of the Council’s Regeneration Fund. With this first scheme coming out of the ground, we are encouraged that other developers will see the benefits of investing in Derby with everything our vibrant and attractive city has to offer.”

Roger Shine, Chairman of Lowbridge said, “I am delighted that our further investment in Derby, together with funding from Derby City Councils’ Regeneration Fund will bring to fruition the exciting development at Friar Gate Square.  These new office buildings will help to re-establish this historic quarter as the premier location for businesses in Derby. Derby is an ambitious, exciting and cosmopolitan city and I have been impressed by the desire and ability of its forward thinking Chief Executive and Council Members who want to compete not just regionally, but on a national and international stage.  Lowbridge met the Derby team at MIPIM, and the message at Marketing Derby’s Embassy events has really helped to build our confidence that Derby is ready for investment.”

The Regeneration Fund will assist in the funding of the Phase One construction costs, fundamentally overcoming barriers relating to restricted availability of development finance, particularly for speculative development. Construction will begin on 13th February 2012 with completion of Phase One scheduled for January 2013.  Letting agents are Innes England and CBRE.

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