Work has begun on bringing “boutique” student accommodation to a run-down corner of Preston city centre.
Bulldozers moved on to a derelict parcel of land at the rear of Friargate this week to start an £18m regeneration project.
Portergate Properties are creating a 253-bedroom hotel-style development aimed at post-graduate students at the nearby University of Central Lancashire and apprentices working in the area’s high-tech manufacturing sector.
The scheme will take between 12 and 14 months to complete and will completely transform the landscape of the city’s student quarter.
Anthony Jackson, chairmann of Portegate, said he believed there was a “real demand for this kind of living space” in Preston.
“Our aim throughout the project is to play a major role in transforming the fortunes of the Friargate area,” he said. “And our hope is that our development and commitment will encourage further investment.”
The construction contract has been awarded to the Eric Wright Group, who have committed to use local companies where possible. Up to 200 workers will be employed on the development. John Wilson, managing director of Eric Wright Construction, said: “The fact we have been appointed to such a high-profile scheme in our home city is fantastic news.
“Portergate has done an amazing job in moving this development forward and we can’t wait to get started to turn their vision into reality.
“The development on Friargate is a great site and will be high quality, well-designed buildings that will play a big part in the regeneration of that quarter of the city.”
The project will also include two shops and Portergate hopes to have the accommodation open to students within 2015. One major casualty of the scheme will be the popular Blitz nightclub and live music venue which sits on the edge of the site. But that is set to remain open into the New Year.