A £100m commercial business district could be created to attract major new companies into Chester.
The North West Development Agency (NWDA) has designated Central Chester as one of 35 strategic development sites, with ambitions to bid for European money to fund the 500,000 sq ft business district.
The ongoing Chester Rail Gateway Study has already identified two potential areas for ‘high quality sites and premises of regional importance’ near the railway station, given there is no more room at Chester Business Park.
Rita Waters, chief executive of Chester Renaissance who is working on the project with Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “It would need to be of a size and scale that suits the city. We are not going to build 30 storey high office blocks because the city couldn’t take it. We will be guided by planning, by the authorities and by English Heritage.”
Mrs Waters stresses the project will be many years in the making and is reluctant to go into detail fearing it could raise expectations and unsettle those already located in the area.
She said Liverpool was seeking to attract the Ministry of Justice, but Chester was not in a position to bid for such projects.
“We want to make sure we can attract and secure major investment into the city,” added Mrs Waters.
She said Chester was ‘a very difficult landscape’ to develop given there were 1,800 plus archaeological sites and 1,400 listed buildings.
The NWDA supports Chester because it is a driver for the regional and sub-regional economy, to promote the service sector and capitalise on its national and international role in financial services and tourism.