Project Jennifer Q&A with Steven Knowles
Back in 2004 developer St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, announced plans to bring a neglected main city road in north Liverpool back to life. The regeneration was named Project Jennifer.
Now in 2015 the £150 million pound Project Jennifer aims to transform the once lively Great Homer Street back into a vibrant shopping and leisure destination.
Plans gathered pace and furthered excitement when supermarket giant Sainsbury’s signed up to anchor the scheme and last November work finally began at the site with a ground breaking ceremony.
This year has seen a flurry of activity as the developer set about enabling the site. Aspen Woolf has recently had a lot of investors ask us about the regeneration and we thought ‘who better to answer these questions than the regional director of St. Modwen himself?’ So, this is exactly what we did.
With the project moving forward and will the help of Your Move, we caught up with Steven Knowles, regional director for St. Modwen for a quick update.
Can you give a brief overview of where you’re up to?
Steven Knowles: It’s fairly simple really, it’s business as usual. The project is moving forward in the timescales we’ve set ourselves. We’re on site now doing enabling works, prepping the site ready for Sainsbury’s to get on site in the late summer.
From speaking to some of the local residents, it feels like there have been some delays in the past. Is that the case or is it just because things are happening behind the scenes?
SK: We’re on a targeted programme and that was that we would have the site ready for the summer of this year and then Sainsbury’s would start its build programme. The Sainsbury’s store is still due for delivery in late summer/autumn of next year. There’s no delay.
And what about the rest of the project? What can residents expect to see?
SK: There’s another 80,000 square foot of retail space to come alongside it, half of which we’ve agreed deals for. That will be the retail centre delivered. Alongside that will be the public realm and quite a substantial amount of highway works.
How many jobs will the scheme create?
SK: In general terms it’s going to create up to 1,000 job opportunities under a £50m redevelopment scheme. That will be construction, sub-contractors and obviously people working in the retail element of it.
Will there be many changes to transport in the area?
SK: Obviously because we need to get access to the retail park there will be alterations to the highway network so there will be new junctions formed off Scotland Road.
How much of Scotland Road will be impacted?
SK: It will be impacted. Obviously during the construction period we’ll keep things going. The highways will continue to work.
Can you give any information on the homes involved in the scheme?
SK: The housing element is a key part of Project Jennifer and is being carried out by housing developers including Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and Liverpool Housing Trust (LHT). LHT has recently completed 20 new residential units at Dryden Street and LMH has recently started work on site to transform the redundant 14 storey Marwood Tower into new residential accommodation.
What will the project mean for the area?
SK: This major regeneration scheme, which has been much needed and wanted by the local community for many years, will transform this part of north Liverpool. It will create more than 1,000 jobs and provide a new district centre for the area, as well as better public spaces and extensive road improvements. The commencement of main site works represents the substantial investment being made in the city and brings more than 10 years of work to fruition. It is testament to the support for the project in the local area.
Finally, do you have a message to the residents?
SK: The scheme is on track and we are continuing to deliver!
St. Modwen has set a target date of summer 2016 for completion of the scheme. Paul Batho, projects director at St. Modwen, says: “The commencement of main site works is a major landmark for the scheme and represents the substantial investment being made in the city. This significant milestone brings more than 10 years of work to fruition and is testament to the support for the project in the local area. We are now in a position to accelerate activity on site, with a view to delivering this major partnership regeneration project by summer 2016.”
The hoardings for the site were designed by pupils from nearby Notre Dame College and are designed to reflect the theme of community.
Paul Batho, St Modwen projects director, said: “Project Jennifer is a result of community collaboration and so we wanted to ensure that we involved people from the immediate area in this important milestone. By working in partnership with Notre Dame College, we have been able to bring to life the community spirit in the area so that passers-by can see what this means to local people.”
Back in 2014 when work first began Mayor Joe Anderson said: “This is a day the local community has long waited for. Project Jennifer will transform this part of North Liverpool, providing much needed jobs, shops, homes as well as the new market.”
Want to find out more about Project Jennifer, why not see what investment opportunities are available in and around Liverpool?