£50 million mixed-use Leicester regeneration scheme completes

28 January, 2020

A £50 million mixed-use development set to catalyse regeneration in the Waterside area of Leicester has now completed.

National property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard delivered civil and structural engineering services, building services, sustainability and quantity surveying consultancy services. The firm worked alongside the main contractors Morgan Sindall Construction, Charles Street Buildings Group (CSB) and Leicester City Council to deliver the scheme.

Known as Great Central Square, the four-and-half-acre site is seen by the local authority as key to revitalising an under-utilised area of the city, while boosting the overall visitor economy and business community.

Included amongst the new development are two major new hotels, both operated by the Accor hospitality group. A 10-storey Novotel offers 154 bedrooms and a variety of indoor facilities including a gym, meeting rooms, and a ground floor bar and restaurant. While an Aparthotel Adagio boasts 95 luxury studio or one-bed apartments, spread over six floors.

Another key building in the scheme is a new five-storey commercial development called No.1 Great Central Square, which provides 33,000 square feet of modern Grade A office space. Building work was carried out to renovate and repurpose the disused Great Central Railway Station, while also delivering a car park for the new hotels and office block.

Graeme Milligan, director at Pick Everard, said: “We’re delighted that the scheme is now complete, creating 100 new jobs for the city. It’s a real regeneration success story for the city and I’m sure we’ll see a huge increase in tourists and businesses visit Leicester as a result.”

During early excavation work, CSB commissioned University of Leicester Archaeology Services to assess the site. They discovered a significant number of Roman artefacts which have been preserved.

Graeme continued: “Following the completion of the archaeological works, we had a tight timeframe to adhere to. As structural engineers on the project, we were responsible for the reinforced concrete schedules. Unlike traditional programmes, whereby the structural engineer would detail the entire project before releasing the design information, we undertook sectional release of information feeding into the process at four-week set intervals. This meant that other teams could begin work, step by step.

“To ensure that this collaborative and flexible approach was a success, we built strong relationships with our project partners and client, agreeing critical deadlines along the way.

“We also employed a slipform system within the construction programme. This meant that all course walls for the stability core lift shafts were built in one go and the flooring was added afterwards – rather than traditional form, whereby part of the lift shafts are built and then flooring is added before the next section is built. This method reduced time onsite and ensured an efficient delivery programme.

“This system is commonplace in larger cities, with a significant number of high-rise buildings but less common in smaller cities like Leicester. We worked with local teams to ensure that they understood the process and we all adapted accordingly.

“It is a cost effective and time efficient method of construction, so was a huge benefit to the scheme.”

Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said: “I am delighted that the city council has been able work closely so with local developer Charles Street Buildings and contractors Morgan Sindall Construction on the major redevelopment of this important site. They have been thoroughly professional and a brilliant team to work with.

“The ambitious scheme has helped to transform a long-neglected part of Leicester and, by incorporating major highway and public realm improvements, has created an attractive new gateway between the city centre and the Waterside regeneration area.”

Richard Frape, project director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Delivering a mixed-use regeneration scheme comprising leisure, retail and commercial space of this scale in less than two years has required a truly collaborative approach from everyone involved. The local authority and Charles Street Buildings have been great customers to work for and our consultants in the supply chain deserve credit too.

“The finished project is one which evidences Morgan Sindall Construction’s ability to design and build both the flagship developments befitting of a city centre prime site, and the accompanying infrastructure work vital to ensuring they’re well-received and accessible.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have completed on schedule for the start of the New Year and confident Great Central Square will play an important role in Leicester’s continued economic development for decades to come.”

Joseph Murphy, director at CSB, said: “Having worked for a number of years through various possible use cases for the site, we’re naturally delighted that Great Central Square is finally complete. Building work concluded on several elements ahead of schedule, so we’ve already had healthy occupier interest in the commercial space. Public reception of the newly-opened hotels has been incredibly positive too.

“The local authority has taken a holistic view to revitalising the Waterside area of Leicester, with the connectivity investment key to this. As a family business with deep local roots, we’re incredibly proud that this development can be the catalyst to drive this long-term strategy and we look forward to working with the council on future schemes in the city.”

The architects involved in the scheme were Stephen George + Partners which acted as master planners and designed the office and station; Leech Rhodes Walker which designed the hotels; and the Andrew Davis Partnership which designed the Great Central Square public realm.

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