Posted: 4/10/2013 at 10:21am
A traditional topping out ceremony has seen the final nut tightened on the steel frame of a building heralding £40 million worth of regeneration activity in Bournemouth town centre.
Civic and business leaders joined construction workers to mark the completion of the 21m (70ft) high landmark, the tallest of four buildings that have been under construction since spring 2013 at Madeira Road, alongside the Wessex Way.
The development involves three blocks of student accommodation for the Arts University Bournemouth and a seven-storey, 382-space public car park due to open this winter.
The works are part of a major programme of regeneration led by the Bournemouth Development Company, a public-private partnership between Bournemouth Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.
Duncan Johnston, Director of the Bournemouth Development Company, said: “As anyone seeing the cranes at work over the summer and the changing skyline would recognise, we are delivering a serious amount of investment value into Bournemouth. Work is now well under way on the regeneration of the town centre.”
The developments at Madeira Road, and new flats under construction at nearby Leyton Mount, are on the sites of former council-owned surface car parks.
The new multi-storey at Madeira Road has a development value of £4 million and is designed to replace all the parking spaces lost.
The student accommodation, valued at £23 million, will house 378 students when it opens for the academic year beginning in autumn 2014.
The £12.5 million Leyton Mount development overlooks Horseshoe Common and involves 64 apartments and a 667 sq m commercial unit.
Building work on each site is being carried out by Morgan Sindall Construction, with trades and labour sourced from the local supply chain as far as possible.
Up to 100 construction workers are on site at Madeira Road on any given day during the build process. The financial value of work let to local contractors currently totals £17.5 million. Forty-two contracting companies have been engaged for trades such as mechanical and electrical work, plastering, glazing, flooring, welding, brickwork and lift installation. Of the contractors engaged so far, more than half have their principal offices either in Dorset or West Hampshire.
Among those attending the topping out ceremony were the Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, Councillor John Beesley, Paul Gale, Area Director for Morgan Sindall, and Richard Guppy, Head of Facilities for Arts University Bournemouth.
Councillor Beesley said: “The topping out of these new buildings marks a major milestone in the coordinated regeneration of the town centre. These developments are all about improving the quality of life in Bournemouth, bringing in investment, creating jobs and stimulating our local economy.”
Mr Gale said: “On the employment side, we try where possible to make use of the local supply chain, so sustaining and generating jobs in Bournemouth and the wider local area. As a result, these investments and building developments may be seen as catalysts to support onward regeneration and economic growth.”
Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth, said: “This is an exciting development which will provide much needed quality student accommodation and strengthen our relationship with Bournemouth Borough Council in the co-ordinated regeneration of the town centre.”
The practice of ‘topping out’ is a traditional rite in the construction industry and dates back to ancient times. It is thought to have begun in Scandinavia with the placing of a tree on top of a new building to appease tree-dwelling spirits displaced by the work.
Picture caption –
A GOOD TURN. From left: Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council; Paul Gale, Area Director for Morgan Sindall; Richard Guppy, Head of Facilities for Arts University Bournemouth; Duncan Johnston, Director of The Bournemouth Development Company; and Chris Holloway, Senior Project Manager for Morgan Sindall.