The financial crises of 2007/8 led to a slowdown in investment in city centre development, leaving the Drake Circus Shopping Centre as the flagship most high profile in local development
Recently we have seen welcome signs of a recovering market, perhaps boosted partially by preparation for the forthcoming 20/20 Mayflower Celebrations. Work is once more under way on the next tranche of Waterside apartments at Millbay, Plymouth City Council have completed the acquisition of land ahead of a proposed residential development at Colin Campbell Court. The regeneration of North Prospect and Devonport has advanced.
There are also new redevelopment schemes taking place including the Bretonside Leisure Complex which has increased build costs of £53m and involves a 106,000 sq ft 12 screen cinema plus amended retail / restaurant content and parking. Derry’s Department Store is advancing with conversion of the upper floors to provide a Premier Inn plus restaurant and student accommodation. Within the Royal William Yard works on the conversion of the Melville building, into a boutique hotel, offices and other commercial use is under way. 32,000 sq.ft. of high specification refurbished office accommodation is under way at ST. Andrews Court/the Merchant.
Meanwhile the Plymouth History Centre (named the Box) will provide a £34m contemporary redevelopment of a Grade 2 listed building into a unique cultural attraction for the City. While on the outskirts the growth of the new town of Sherford continues apace.
Recently announced schemes in the pipeline include the creation of additional commercial space at Langage Business Park, involving both private developers and Plymouth City Council. Funding has been secured for the long awaited Forder Valley Link Road Scheme and continued development at Derriford including 3,000 new houses and additional business expansion. Within the City Centre we hear of plans for the possible conversion of the Money Centre and the Civic Centre into hotel/residential use.
Other schemes in the pipeline include development of additional commercial space at Langage Business Park by both private developers and Plymouth City Council, the Forder Valley Link Road Scheme which has now secured funding for 2018 for a £35m new road scheme, 3,000 new houses and business expansion at Derriford plus possible conversion of the Money Centre and the Civic Centre into hotel / residential use.
On the other side of the coin, we are seeing indications that the supply of student occupation may be outstripping demand. The landmark Beckley Court development comprising 507 student rooms was completed in September 2017 and is reporting poor occupancy rates, a common experience with other large modern student accommodation blocks within the City. On the back of the recent announcement that student numbers at Plymouth University have fallen dramatically from circa 30,000 in 2010 to a disappointing 20,000 in 2017, the proposed large student schemes including Mayflower House and 17/19 Mayflower Street which would have created circa 267 and 500 new student room respectively have now been put on hold.
Robin Wells BSc (Hons) MRICS, RICS Registered Valuer