A search has begun for a developer to build 618 apartments in an exciting new area of Reading town centre.
Recently, Reading Borough Council agreed to forge ahead with its plans for the Minster Quarter, which covers the former Civic Centre area between Broad Street Mall and Reading police station.
The vision for the Minster Quarter involves building apartment complexes totalling 618 flats, a 90 bed hotel, and new public space for people to gather and enjoy.
Now, the council has selected chartered surveyor firm Eddisons to begin the search for a developer to turn that vision into a reality.
The Eddisons website states: “The Council is looking for a development partner who understands and shares their vision for this strategically significant site and has a commitment to, and experience of, working successfully in partnership to achieve outstanding development quality and place-making.”
As well as apartments, the chosen developer would also be expected to make flexible working and conference facilities and an outdoor performance space.
Eddisons and the council will hold an event where prospective bidders can meet council leaders to view the proposals and consider taking on the scheme.
The event will take place at The Hexagon Theatre in Queens Walk at 10am on Wednesday, September 14.
A brochure has been devised by Eddisons laying out the principles of the project and the opportunities prospective developers could enjoy if their bid is successful.
The Minster Quarter plans have received opposition from the Green party.
Councillor David McElroy (Green, Redlands) said future occupants of the apartments “would have their eyeballs and lungs destroyed by the IDR” – referring to the A329 inner distributor road which runs to the west of the Minster Quarter site.
Meanwhile, cllr Rob White (Green, Park), the leader of the opposition criticised the council’s Labour administration for not pushing for 50 per cent of the proposed apartments (309) to be affordable.
Instead, the administration has asked for 30 per cent of the apartments (185) to be affordable, which complies with the council’s current housing policy.
Jason Brock (Labour, Southcote) the leader of the council, replied that the 30 per cent being sought is appropriate and the development has to be economically viable to attract bidders.
During a meeting when the Minster Quarter project was being discussed, cllr Brock said: “[This] is an aspirational goal, and we want to deliver high quality affordable housing on the site.
“If we find a partner who’s able to deliver more than that, I’m sure we’ll push it further, but I can guarantee we won’t.”
The Eddisons website states that the apartments will be a mix of affordable, private homes and build to rent.
Once bids for the project are submitted, the winning bidder will be selected at a future council meeting.