We asked key business people engaged in projects in and around Colchester to share their views on why they are investing here. This is what they said.
“We’re backing Colchester by developing the Knowledge Gateway, our science and technology park that’s home to a growing cluster of SMEs – and we’re providing excellent support to businesses across the region.”Bryn Morris | Registrar, University of Essex
“When it comes to creativity, Colchester punches far above its weight. There’s huge excitement around the creative industries, with civic and commercial partnerships unlocking the potential of people and companies with great ideas.”Steve Mannix | Executive Director, Mercury Theatre
“Colchester is a large part of Birkett Long’s history, but more importantly it’s going to be a big part of our future strategy. We’re excited about our move to a purpose-built office in a developing part of town, which will go a long way towards Birkett Long achieving its aim of being the leading professional services firm in Essex.”
Adrian Livesley, Managing Partner, Birkett Long Solicitors & Independent Financial Advisers
Fenwick have invested over £30 Million in the redevelopment of the principal department store on Colchester High Street. The shopping experience will be transformed as the store will feature two full-height atria , large media screens, two restaurants, 50% more floor space and a significantly wider offer of brands across Fashion, Menswear, Accessories, Beauty and Home. This investment will further secure Colchester’s position as the pre-eminent shopping destination in the region with its compelling mix of retail, leisure and culture all within this historic town centre.Hugo Fenwick | Group Trading Director, Fenwick
Colchester Presents Community Interest Company is focused on the vitality and viability of Colchester with the single aim of strengthening Colchester and reinforcing its position as a primary retail, social, cultural and leisure destination in the region. This is done through an inclusive and collaborative business model, delivering sustainable funding for continued investment in Colchester.Carl Milton | Interim Chairman of Colchester Presents CIC, Colchester Presents Community Interest Company
“We’re backing Colchester because of the town’s potential for future growth, which is driving occupier demand in 2016. Retailers looking to expand in the South East benefit from Colchester’s affluent catchment, its dominant location and loyal customer following.”
Rupert Milne, Asset Manager, M&G Real Estate, Owners of Culver Square Shopping Centre
“Colchester Borough Council’s vision for the Northern Gateway provides a coherent and sustainable strategy that will see the area developed in partnership with best-in-class commercial operators – a strategy that David Lloyd Leisure was confident to invest in.”
Paul Guyer, Group Property Director, David Lloyd Leisure
“Having analysed Colchester’s demographics against the current cinema offering, we could see that Colchester’s potential offered the right location for one of our regional destination multiplex cinemas. The Northern Gateway’s focus on sport and leisure and location next to the A12 is a perfect fit for our new next generation cinema experience.”
Kevin Frost, Property Director, Cineworld
From humble beginnings as the stable yard to a medieval coaching inn, the historic Red Lion Yard has seen many changes over the centuries. It now forms part of a popular circular shopping route through town and is home to more than 40 of Britain’s top retail brands, including Marks & Spencer, Topshop, Top Man, River Island, New Look, Boots and WH Smith.
The former owners of Lion Walk acquired Red Lion Yard in October 2013 and work on a £600,000 refurbishment commenced almost immediately. Now an attractive boutique and café quarter, the small boutiques in Red Lion Yard are home to a range of independent retailers.
Lion Walk provides us with an opportunity to secure a good quality shopping centre located in the prime pitch within Colchester. The town is forecast to see above average population growth over the next decade. The scheme is already well let however we see further potential to improve the tenant mix and increase rents following the opening of Primark next year.Tom Gamble|Director, CBRE GI
“We have run our business, Whybrow Chartered Surveyors in Colchester for over 30 years and the town is truly a great and inspiring place to work and to grow, where its people are generous and driven and where opportunity exists to truly flourish. We would not want to have our head office anywhere else.”
Ewan Dodds BSc FRICS, Chief Executive Officer, Whybrow Chartered Surveyors
“Colchester is a council that has consistently delivered in housing. We were impressed with the ambition of the team who showed they have the confidence and capability to do business and get more homes on the ground. We were delighted to award them a well-deserved Housing Business Ready status.”
Natalie Elphicke OBE, Chief Executive, The Housing & Finance Institute
“The last few years have seen the expansion of independent specialist or ‘boutique’ smaller cinemas. These offer a higher quality of experience with an enhanced provision of food and drink. As one of the market leaders in this sector, Curzon selects locations to ensure that they fit in with our brand values revolving around a quality film experience and a memorable evening out. Colchester has been identified as a big opportunity to position an upmarket, stylish cinema alongside complimentary restaurants in a vibrant and creative cultural quarter of an expanding city. This will be the first Curzon cinema in the East of England, strongly boosting Colchester’s wider attractiveness as a regional centre of arts and culture.”
Robert Kenny, Director of Cinema Development, Curzon Cinemas