ANOTHER piece of Blackburn town centre’s regeneration jigsaw is poised for completion by Christmas.
Cathedral Court - luxury residential and student accommodation and retail development around ‘Margo Towers’ - will be finished with a new 92-vehicle car park in time for the seasonal shopping rush.
Developers BGSA took over the project, started by Blackburn businesswoman and the Telegraph columnist Margo Grimshaw in 2010.
This month Market Street Lane will be re-opened, following the completion of Cathedral Court, including the construction of 42 vehicle Pay and Display Public Car Park, and a 50 vehicle underground Contract Car Park on a site originally earmarked for a hotel.
The news follows the subsmission of the planning application for the new Cathedral Quarter, the go-ahead for the new bus station on Ainsworth Street, and Debenhams in The Mall announcing a major New Year refurbishment.
Negotiations between Blackburn with Darwen council, Thwaites and Sainsbury’s about a major superstore on the old market and Star Brewery sites continue next month.
BGSA director Sheldon Cohen said “This boarded up building site, which was for so long a reminder of the recession, has now been transformed into a fully occupied residential development, with retail shops, together with public and contract car parking.
“Completed entirely with private funding, luxury apartments in The Tower were let earlier in the year, whilst apartments in The Gatehouse and The Keep were recently fully let to students, in a partnership arrangement with Blackburn College.
“Originally designed for private ownership, the student accommodation is ideally located for students because it is close to the college, the Mall and the town’s transport hubs.
“This will undoubtedly benefit many local traders, from coffee shops and takeaways to fashion and convenience stores.
“Further residential and possibly even a hotel development are being considered for the future.
“We have already rented the largest of the four retail spaces and further details will be announced shortly.”
Council deputy chief executive Andrew Lightfoot said: “This is excellent news for the town centre. BGSA have done well to compete this development in difficult economic conditions.”