Mike Horner, regional director of the developer, told Place North West that early successes at One City Place have strengthened his feeling that in Chester as elsewhere, companies prefer city locations, adding that a deal is close with a hotel operator at the £100m Central Business Quarter.
He said: “The intention for City Place was from the word go a new central business quarter to provide an alternative to Chester Business Park – there just hasn’t been a good quality, modern grade A space as an alternative in the city.”
A planning application for the last developable plot at the business park, the area’s most successful office location, has been submitted this month.
Horner continued: “We’re already proving that the location will be attractive, having secured a number of deals in a matter of months. When companies have lease events coming up, there will now be the option of relocating to the city centre – becoming less car-reliant and giving staff the retail and leisure amenities that come with a city. We’re looking for those occupiers. It’s great news for Chester.”
There could be a further six office buildings at the scheme, bringing a potential further 500,000 sq ft of space on top of the 70,000 sq ft at One City Place. Businesses now in place include RSM, Power Solutions and Excello Law, occupying a combined total of around 15,000 sq ft.
City Place is also in line for a hotel of around 120 bedrooms, with announcement of a deal expected soon. Horner said: “In the original masterplan there hadn’t been plans for a hotel, but with the proximity to the railway station, and the rarity of the opportunity to build a new hotel in central Chester complementary to the present offer, means that this makes sense.”
The scheme also has outline consent for 200 residential units on a site overlooking the Shropshire Union Canal. Horner said that this is likely to be a mix of townhouses and apartments. Plans are being worked on currently ahead of a reserved matters application.