Full steam ahead for Chester Northgate as preferred contractor appointed

Plans to build on the city’s reputation as a prime leisure and culture destination are firmly on track, with a preferred contractor now appointed for Chester Northgate.

Cheshire West and Council has appointed VINCI Construction UK as its ‘Preferred Bidder’ for the building works that will transform a quarter of the historic centre of the city following a Europe-wide tendering process that commenced last year and involved some of the largest construction companies in the UK.

The decision to appoint VINCI, an internationally renowned company gives the Council a head start on the works although they  will only be formally appointed for the Phase 1 detail design next autumn, until then they will work with the Council  whilst detailed planning work is completed over the coming months.

The £60 million initial plans of the exciting mixed use development, which will include a new relocated dynamic and modern market, six-screen cinema, restaurants, a public square and car parking, would see the contract signed for the building works  by the end of next year.

Phase 1 already has the brands Picturehouse, Tapas Revolution, Cosy Club and Zizzi confirmed and the proposed market will be at the heart of the first phase, with ambitious plans to become one of the best markets in the country.

Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Councillor Brian Clarke, said: “We have a clear vision for Chester Northgate that will support a lively leisure and culture offer in the city, as outlined in the One City Plan. It will support local retailers and Storyhouse and also provide much needed jobs, car parking, housing and office space in the heart of Chester.

“Chester Northgate is the largest project the city has seen in decades. Our aim is to secure Chester’s position as a visitor destination for years to come. Northgate is at the heart of our ambitions for Chester and it’s essential that we maintain the current momentum.

“The appointment of an internationally renowned company such as VINCI underlines its importance to the city and the region, and its significance in our plans to ensure Chester remains a go-to destination.”

An initial Pre-Construction Agreement, starting in autumn 2019, will see VINCI get to work on the final design and costings. The company will also provide key advice prior to the construction phase to make sure the build meets potential tenant requirements and provides the best value for money.

Supporting the news, Shadow Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, Councillor Stuart Parker, said: “Phase 1 of Chester Northgate will create a significant new destination within the heart of the city, complementing other key One City Plan investments such as the Central Business Quarter and the award winning Storyhouse and new bus station. VINCI have an impressive portfolio of developments and I’m confident they are the right people for the job.”

VINCI is a world leader in concessions and construction employing around 185,000 people in 100 countries around the world with a turnover of €38.7 billion. VINCI companies in the UK has a turnover of £2 billion per year and employs around 9,000 employees, including a regional office in Cheshire.

Major projects by the company include the £52 million redevelopment of the Manchester Trafford Centre, Barton Square and the regeneration of the New Covent Garden Market site in London.

John Roberts, Regional Director, VINCI Construction UK said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Cheshire West and Chester Council. This is the next positive step towards the redevelopment of the Northgate area of Chester. Being named preferred Bidder will enable us to strengthen our existing community links in the surrounding area.”

Peter Carstensen, Chairman of the Chester Growth Partnership said: “Chester Northgate will drive economic growth, create jobs and increase tourism; it is one of the major projects within our One City Plan. I am working with businesses across the city to ensure the development meets the high expectations of the city.”