Flagship scheme starts to take shape

One of Southampton’s ‘VIP’ development projects is taking shape, with the phase 1 steel frame structure starting to rise into the skyline.

The Fruit and Vegetable Market, off Queensway in the city centre, is set to provide 279 new homes as well as commercial space and developer National Regional Property Group says the first phase of the scheme is on-track to be completed by this time next year.

Planners approved the £60m regeneration scheme last year. Once complete it will feature 84 one and 195 two-bedroom apartments, split across three blocks. Nearly 900 sqm of commercial space will be split between two of the blocks, with flexible commercial units offering space for retailers.

Already most of the old warehouses have been demolished and the piling and groundwork for the first of the three buildings has been completed. Now the steel frame structure for the first building is being erected and passers-by can see the block starting to take shape. Highways work is also taking place to create more on-street parking and construction of an underground car park in the second of the three buildings is well underway.

Allan Gordon, managing director of National Regional Property Group, the firm developing the project, said: “We are very pleased with the progress on site so far. On any given day there are at least 70 contractors working to bring this important project to fruition and it’s exciting that we’re starting to see the skeletons of the first buildings reach into the sky. This is a flagship scheme which will completely transform the area, bringing with it much needed homes and jobs.”

PMC Construction is the principal contractor appointed by Hampshire & Regional Property Group to build the scheme.

Around 30 jobs could be created through the commercial space and an estimated 300 jobs created during the construction period. The scheme marks Southampton’s first ever Private Rented Sector (PRS) development and forms a significant part of the city’s council’s masterplan.

Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “This development is one of seven Very Important Projects that are underway in the city centre. It’s tremendous to see the landscape in this area of the city start to transform, with the first building starting to take shape. New homes in the city centre such as these, help to create a vibrant centralised community.

“The ongoing plan of improvement in Southampton is generating new jobs, homes, retail opportunities and green spaces in the city. The city centre masterplan was implemented in 2012 with a planned £3bn of investment coming in to the city. This huge level of financial commitment has made Southampton the destination city on the South coast.”

Fruit and veg progress pic - credit to SWN photography small

Image: Progress at the Fruit and Vegetable Market development in Southampton.