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Eric Wright appointed to Preston regeneration

Portergate Properties hires local firm to deliver Preston regeneration.

Eric Wright Construction, part of the Eric Wright Group, has been contracted to deliver an £18M Preston regeneration project which will see the Friargate area of the city transformed.

Portergate Properties, the company behind the ambitious mixed-use development, has appointed the Preston-based builder following its pledge to utilise the skills of as many local companies as possible.

The transformation of the strategic, yet run-down, 1.5 acre site in Friargate will bring two new retail premises and create a 253 bedroom building aimed at providing boutique hotel-style accommodation to students at the nearby University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)

Part of the high-quality accommodation on offer is also aimed at the university’s post graduate students and to apprentices and key workers in the city’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new enterprise zone.

Portergate Properties already offers this style of accomodation in Salford and has plans to roll out the concept throughout the North West. the company believes that the Friargate scheme will play a major role in reviving the area.

The Construction Division of Eric Wright Group is planning to start demolition on the site in late autumn. The whole project, which will be the biggest building project in Preston, is expected to take 12 to 14 months to complete.

Anthony Jackson, chairman of Portergate Properties, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Eric Wright Construction to deliver our vision for Friargate.

“The appointment underlines our commitment to utilising the skills of local companies wherever possible during the construction work, helping to create and secure local jobs in the sector. That is very important to us as a North West company.

“This will be the biggest building project in Preston and the development will play a key role in our continued expansion plans in the North West.

“Once completed it will provide boutique hotel-style accommodation, not only for students but also for young key workers in the city, where we believe there is a real demand for this type of living space.

“Our aim throughout the project is to play a major role in transforming the fortunes of the Friargate area and our hope is that our development and commitment will encourage further investment.”

He added: “We went through a detailed and thorough process to ensure that we have appointed the very best firm to deliver this important development project.”

John Wilson, managing director of Eric Wright Construction, said: “The fact we have been appointed to such a high-profile scheme in our home city is fantastic news.

“Portergate has done an amazing job in moving this development forward and we can’t wait to get started to turn their vision into reality.

“The development on Friargate is a great site and will be high quality, well-designed buildings that will play a big part in the regeneration of that quarter of the city.

“It is good to see the commitment to local firms being appointed to such a major development for the city, but we still had to be competitive and put in a compelling bid.

“It is also great to see people investing in Preston and its future.”

At its height around 200 workers will be employed on the Friargate development site.

It will be an aesthetically pleasing shop and apartment complex, which has been designed around open garden areas, conveniently located in the heart of the city and a short walk from the University of Central Lancashire.

The plan for the building and its exterior garden areas was created by Manchester architecture practice Leach Rhodes Walker.

Christian Gilham, director at Leach Rhodes Walker, said: “We are delighted to have concluded negotiations with Eric Wright Construction to build this exciting new development of state-of-the-art student accommodation in Preston.

“We see the landmark design as a catalyst for regeneration in the area and one of the first new developments to come forward in the city for some time.

“The design is a high quality, cutting edge scheme, which will provide 21st century quality of accommodation in the city.”

The Friargate project builds on the success of Portergate’s debut building Riverside House, the luxury accommodation building on the banks of the Irwell in Salford.

Anthony Jackson says Friargate is part of a wider growth plan for his company. He said: “There is strong, growing demand for quality properties from investors, something we have seen since the beginning of our successful £16 million Riverside House project in Salford.

“We’re already seeing major investment in our concept of luxury boutique hotel accommodation in towns and cities with thriving universities and growing student populations.

“Investors are also looking at the growing importance of the university sector to the UK’s economy and the rising number of overseas students being attracted here.

“The student accommodation sector is seeing continuing growth and is a real property success story in the UK.

“Our business model has received a terrific response from overseas investors. They see the UK as a solid and strong place in which to invest their money.”