Developer: Equity Estates (Brooklands) Ltd
Suffolk County Council have been attempting to redevelop Princes Street into a business hub by constructing a number of office buildings, including the new Birketts’ HQ as well as having planning permission for a five story block in 2014 on the opposite side of the road. However, a much larger office complex was envisioned in 2008 on the site of the Birketts’ HQ with a gross internal area of 12,500m2 with a further 720m2 of space for a food court.
Submitted in 2008, this large complex would consist of two connected office buildings with a food court in the middle area. The services would be at the rear of the complex, allowing a pedestrian through route from Princes Street, combined with the food court, the area would welcome pedestrians as well as office workers. The building was flexible in design and could be divided on a floor by floor basis.
This proposal was approved, however, the development fell through as a result of the 2008 economic crash, though often seen as an excuse, this complex seemingly had no tenants signed up – or if it did, not enough to justify construction. The council wanted to build the office to allow companies to come and occupy the building, rather than having a company signed up prior, such as Birketts’. As a result of the recession, there was no justification for building such a large building, especially as surrounding buildings were still empty. This also saw a collapse in confidence by the town to build office buildings prior to tenants signing up. As for this proposal, it may have been constructed if planned a few years prior to 2008.
Images: SMC Charted Architects