In 2014 Ipswich Borough Council wanted to redevelop a run down part of Princes Street by building a 5 storey office block on the site of Avanti Autos at 88 Princes Street. However, having sought planning permission and having a finalised design, construction of the office block will not commence until a tenant has been sought.
The 5 storey building will be extremely flexible in terms of office space. With 2 stairwells at each end plus a main stairwell and lifts in the centre of the building, the office block will be able to be sub divided very easily allowing for up to 10 companies to occupy the space. The building has Enterprise Zone status, offering a saving on business rates for the next five years, the same as the newly renovated Connexions 159 which remains empty.
The design of the building will consist of two ‘wings’ around a central atrium to allow the structure to follow the contours of the Princes Street and Friars Bridge Road. Red brick will be the main material with silver cladding on the top and bottom floor as well as on the the main entrance atrium.
For such a prominent position on Princes Street, the design is extremely, un-offensively boring, yet apt for the councils misguided lack of ambition. Though nothing is wrong with the design, it is a missed opportunity to create a new landmark, like that of the nearby Willis building. It would have cost more than a mid size London based architecture firm, but a world renown architect could have created a new icon and put Princes Street on the map.
This office block is the first of the planned Portman Road office master plan that will see the creation of a new road and possibly four new buildings on the site of the Portman Road car park. However, the first stage of this proposal is the completion of this building. Construction will not begin until occupants are found and despite interest, no occupants have signed up. Until then this site will remain derelict and run down.