THE 'jewel in the crown' of the regeneration of Blackburn's town centre has won its first major award.
One Cathedral Square was named the best commercial property in the North West at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards.
The £30million office building within Blackburn Cathedral Quarter claimed the prize at The Titanic hotel in Liverpool last night.
It saw off competition from the Foundry and One New Bailey in Salford, Stubbs Mill in Manchester and Tempest in Liverpool.
Blackburn Town Hall was also shortlisted in the building conservation category and the Cathedral Quarter competed in the regeneration category.
Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's regeneration boss, said: "It's very pleasing that One Cathedral Square has won this award and has been recognised for being a transformational bit of architecture.
"This is the first award it has ever won and it is really deserved.
"It has had a massive impact on people's perceptions of what Blackburn town centre is.
"It has been shortlisted for other awards but never won before so this is very pleasing."
RICS judges praised the project team behind the Grade A office development, which included BDP Architects, Eric Wright Group and Maple Grove Developments, working with the council, for ensuring running costs are kept low for tenants thanks to a number of ‘green’ measures, including photovoltaic panels - which produce renewable energy - earning the development a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Chairman of the judging panel Will Rees, director at Rees Straw Chartered Surveyors, said: “One Cathedral Square is an exemplary development which is already having a positive impact on its local community and has helped to shift perceptions of Blackburn.
"The contemporary design has enhanced its setting, and the scheme will act as a catalyst for future regeneration of the town centre.
“The feedback from all stakeholders has been unanimously good and it is a project the town can be rightly proud of.
"The team behind One Cathedral Square should be very proud as they have shown just what is achievable with vision and an innovative and collaborative approach.”
Other winners on the night included Oldham Town Hall which claimed the regeneration prize and the design through innovation gong, Birkenhead Priory Conservation Repairs which won the building conservation award and Hayescroft in Manchester took home the residential prize.
All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on November 2 in London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.