A ceremony to mark the official start of construction work for Friars Walk, Newport’s multi-million pound retail and leisure scheme, took place Wednesday 9th April.
The city’s Mayor, Councillor Cliff Suller, led the ground breaking on the site accompanied by Newport City Council leader Councillor Bob Bright; Paul Sargent, managing partner of Queensberry Real Estate and Paul Lomas, group construction director of contractors Bowmer and Kirkland.
Afterwards, they joined invited guests, including representatives from city centre businesses, the wider development team and regional property professionals at Queensberry’s offices in the nearby Chartist Tower which has spectacular views of the construction site.
Queensberry Real Estate were selected as preferred developer in 2011 and in spring 2012 planning permission was granted for the scheme.
This is a momentous day in the Friars Walk story and another page in the story of the city centre. Residents, visitors and businesses will be able to see the new development taking shape over the next 18 months in readiness for opening in the autumn of 2015. We know everyone has been waiting a long time for this scheme but people can now look forward to seeing this important part of the city centre’s revitalisation taking shape. We are confident that 2014 will be the year that sees the start of a turnaround in Newport’s fortunes. Councillor Bob Bright, leader of Newport City Council
Paul Sargent, managing partner and founder member of Queensberry Real Estate added ‘Today’s event marks a significant day for QRE and the City of Newport. It provides an opportunity to recognise all the hard work done to date.
“We are changing perceptions of Newport with positive action. Retailers are now returning to the city centre as a result of this and Friars Walk will be a reality the public will be able to enjoy from November 2015.
“We’ve been successful in signing up further key retailers and restaurants with more names to be announced in the near future.”
Paul Lomas, construction director, Bowmer & Kirkland, said: “We are delighted that we have won this contract and are working hard to ensure that we employ as many local contractors as possible on this exciting development for the city and region.”