Carlisle Citadels Regen Sketch, Carlisle City Council, P Carlisle City Council
Sketch of the plans for the Citadels in Carlisle. Credit: via Carlisle City Council

Wanted: main contractor for £77m Carlisle Citadel project

Julia Hatmaker

The University of Cumbria is looking for a design and build services company to transform the Citadel buildings into a 148,500 sq ft city centre campus.

The end date to apply for the job is noon on 23 September. The successful company will begin its contract on 16 November. The contract will run until 30 September 2022.

Some work has already begun on the scheme to get the site ready for construction – namely, demolition. Thomas Armstrong is knocking down the 13,000 sq ft Paton House buildings that sit on the site. The demolition process is expected to complete in autumn this year.

Built in 1541, the Citadel is listed as a grade one building. Cumbria Council, Carlisle City Council and the university have joined forces to revamp the historic structure as a campus. The development is funded in part through the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and a grant from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

Having experience working on grade one-listed buildings is one of the key factors the university is looking for in a contractor for the project, according to Andrew Gravett, head of estates and property at University of Cumbria. Also on the wish list: a company that has experience constructing on tight city centre locations and completing landmark projects with a significant amount of public realm.

“Contractors should also be comfortable liaising with other stakeholders and contractors on adjoining/neighbouring land and have experience of working around significant archaeological remains and burial grounds,” Gravett said.

“We are also seeking contractors who will actively employ local tradesmen and companies,” he added.

Work on the Citadel is the second phase of a larger town regeneration scheme, which includes improving the railway station and its surrounding area. Funding for the Carlisle Station Gateway phase of the project was secured in December 2020.

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