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Gloucestershire Business News

VIDEO: £39m Blackfriars regeneration takes final step forward

A derelict car park in the centre of Gloucester is a distant memory, thanks to a £39 million regeneration project.

One hundred and ninety student rooms on the Blackfriars site, for students of Hartpury University, have just been completed.

The development was officially opened yesterday (August 22), by Richard Graham MP for Gloucester and Cllr Kathy Williams, mayor of Gloucester.

Richard Graham MP said: "This was a largely unused car park 10 years ago and then finally we managed to persuade the Local Enterprise Partnership, the county council and the city council that this was a fantastic place for redevelopment.

"The universities of Gloucestershire and Hartpury came together and Cityheart have done the actual building. The design is very much in keeping with the area and with the docks. What we've now got is good student housing, a really important feature of the regeneration of Gloucester city centre.

"We're very lucky because we've got two universities. Their students are doing valuable courses for this country and they're going to contribute to the footfall of the retail in the city centre, as well as this regeneration of Blackfriars.

"All of this is exactly what we wanted to see over 10 years ago, which is a university city."

Phase 1 of the development, consisting of 295 rooms for University of Gloucestershire students, was completed in 2018.

Cityheart Ltd was appointed the preferred strategic development partner for the scheme by the University of Gloucestershire in 2016. The initial phase of the development was built by Mida Construction. Following the collapse of Midas, Gloucester-based Vitruvius was appointed to complete the project.

Talking to Punchline-Gloucester.com Mark Price, MD of Vitruvius, said: "Hartpury is one of our long-term clients. Unfortunately, Midas went into administration when the build was half done and we stepped in under a construction management contract, working in partnership with Cityheart, to get the building turned round.

"We managed to get it back up and running three weeks after Midas went into administration, which is the fastest restart on any of their projects that went under. We're very pleased to have done it and to have taken on some of the Midas team to support the staff to get it finished."

Vitruvius used as many local contractors as possible on the project.

Mark Price continued: "We like to keep the money in the shire where we can. We're very pleased to have a project right in the heart of Gloucester."

Punchline-Gloucester.com said: "Punchline would like to congratulate everyone involved for keeping faith in the scheme, which has not been without its issues and challenges, and for using local subcontractors on the build.

"This was a tired old car park, which was a mess in the city centre. It is one of the Magnificent Seven urban regeneration schemes for Gloucester. After 30 years of talking, the universities, Cityheart and Vitruvius have turned this area around, and it really does look magnificent.

"Not only have we got the City Campus coming to the old Debenhams, but we will also have 500 students living right in the centre of the city."

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