County’s big­gest of­fice scheme in 20 years nears com­ple­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Development Update -

The big­gest of­fice build­ing seen in Kent for 20 years is close to be­ing com­pleted less than a year af­ter con­struc­tion be­gan.

De­vel­op­ers be­hind the multi-mil­lion pound Com­mer­cial Quar­ter at Dover Place in Ash­ford started build­ing work in Jan­uary.

They reached an im­por­tant mile­stone on Mon­day when con­trac­tors placed the last beam at the top of the six-storey struc­ture at a top­ping-out cer­e­mony.

Bosses at de­vel­op­ment com­pany Quinn Es­tates – which is lead­ing the project in part­ner­ship with Ge­orge Wil­son Devel­op­ments – say they have al­ready agreed for a den­tist and ac­coun­tancy firm to move in.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Quinn said: “It is the big­gest of­fice build­ing Kent has seen in the last two decades and it is the tallest build­ing we have done at Quinn Es­tates.

“I think it will make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to this area, and it is an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for busi­nesses look­ing to re­lo­cate lo­cally, or from Lon­don and fur­ther afield.

“This project is ex­pected to cre­ate 600 jobs for the bor­ough, and is the re­sult of the coun­cil and our­selves work­ing to­gether to make things hap­pen.”

De­vel­op­ers ex­pect the build­ing to be com­pleted in Jan­uary next year, with the first firms tak­ing up the space in March.

The de­vel­op­ment, which in­cludes of­fice, restaurant and re­tail space, will cre­ate 481 full-time jobs when fin­ished.

More than 300 con­struc­tion po­si­tions have al­ready been cre­ated and ac­coun­tancy firm Wilkins Kennedy is the first ten­ant tak­ing up the top floor, with a cos­metic den­tist signed up to take on a ground-floor spot.

The Com­mer­cial Quar­ter is one of Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s Big 8 projects – a se­ries of ma­jor schemes that the coun­cil says will trans­form Ash­ford and re­gen­er­ate the town cen­tre.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil leader coun- cil­lor Gerry Clark­son called the town the “num­ber one busi­ness lo­ca­tion in Kent”.

He said: “I am con­fi­dent it will be a cat­a­lyst for de­liv­ery of new jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties that our in­ter­na­tional town of Ash­ford needs.

“This is a key strate­gic site, which has been ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment for some time.

“Yet it is only since this coun­cil stepped in and ac­quired it and un­der­took its own mas­ter plan­ning and marketing that this pro­posal has come for­ward.”

Wood­church res­i­dent Tommy Dawes, 30, was ap­pointed project man­ager last year.

“This is the big­gest build­ing I have worked on,” he said.

“I am lo­cal and it is close to home and close to my heart too. It is great when my fam­ily drive past and sees the de­vel­op­ment go­ing up.

“I have worked my way up and it is bril­liant to be project man­ager on it.”

How Dover Place looks this week, an artist’s im­pres­sion of the com­pleted de­vel­op­ment and project man­ager, Wood­church res­i­dent Tommy Dawes

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