A Lancashire based property developer has bought a major site within Lancaster’s Canal Quarter regeneration area, including the former Mitchells brewery buildings.
Worthington Properties, based in Claughton-on-Brock, has acquired the 2.5 acres of land previously owned by British Land, in a deal that it says will bring fresh impetus to the much-anticipated redevelopment scheme.
The company says it recognises that the acquisition is a key part of the Canal Quarter area, containing a number of significant buildings and important sites, and that it will seek to work positively with the council and the community to develop the revised masterplan for a comprehensive and ambitious regeneration of this part of the city.
Russell Worthington, development director of Worthington Properties, said: “We’re keen to work with the council and other stakeholders, including Historic England, to help devise the new masterplan that has the best interests of the city at heart, is sympathetic to its history, and will benefit the city for many decades to come.
“We want to support the council’s aspirations to deliver a project that’s ambitious and achievable, allowing many different uses and benefitting all parts of the community.”
Coun Janice Hanson, Lancaster City Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic development and regeneration, said: “Attracting investors like Worthington Properties, who show commitment to investing in the area and can bring a fresh approach to the regeneration of the city’s Canal Quarter site, is a positive step forward.
“The masterplan for the area is still in its early stages and the council is looking forward to working with the public, businesses and its partners to develop a scheme that reflects the views of the community and realises its key objectives for the site that will achieve significant economic benefits for Lancaster.”
The previous £250m regeneration project was known as Canal Corridor North before being renamed Canal Quarter by the council in 2018 as part of a major review of its plans for the 16-acre area.
As part of this review, the council identified several priorities for a revised masterplan. These included a broad mix of residential accommodation; more space for businesses, including co-working facilities; new uses for historic canal-side buildings; an increased city centre presence for Lancaster University; and a thriving arts hub to make Lancaster a primary cultural centre in the region.
The council says it seeks to have less reliance on additional retail space in the Canal Quarter to instil confidence in the existing city centre shopping areas.
As well as the former Mitchell’s brewery, the Canal Quarter is also home to The Dukes theatre, the Lancaster Grand Theatre and the Lancaster Music Co-operative. The council is keen for these cultural assets to have a strong presence as part of the new Canal Quarter development.
Worthington Properties, based at Claughton-on-Brock, between Lancaster and Preston, is part of the Marcus Worthington Group.
The company is behind the 125 Deansgate development in Manchester, an £85m project to introduce new Grade A office space to the city centre.
It is also working on a major £35m project with Radisson Hotel Group to refurbish the iconic North Western Hall next to Liverpool Lime Street station, returning it to its original use as a hotel.
Russell Worthington added: “We have a strong track record of delivering major schemes across the UK. I’m especially pleased to be involved in the Lancaster Canal Quarter development. As a local lad the city is close to my heart and we genuinely want to see a scheme that will complement and improve the City of Lancaster.
“The Canal Quarter regeneration will enable many new jobs to be created, contributing to the city’s economic growth while respecting its unique cultural heritage.”