It’s already a success story, pulling in huge numbers and acting as the centrepiece of Portsmouth’s renaissance as a city for the 21st century.
But we’re excited to reveal today how Gunwharf Quays is set to build on its achievements so far as part of ambitious plans to take full advantage of the city’s fantastic waterfront.
The company which owns Gunwharf – retail property giant Land Securities – has snapped up Europa House, the 18-storey former headquarters of Pall Europe down on The Hard. Meanwhile the sale of neighbouring tower block Brunel House is also being negotiated with an as-yet unnamed buyer.
Now it is no longer a flight of fancy to imagine this part of the shoreline brought bang up to date with new hotels, homes and offices – an extension to the existing Gunwharf offering.
Yet that is just the beginning in a major plan that, despite economic uncertainty, underlines what confidence there is in Portsmouth as a vibrant place to invest.
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust has published a ‘masterplan’ of how Gunwharf Quays, the naval base and the Historic Dockyard could be redeveloped and joined together.
It includes a walkway running past HMS Warrior, connecting the dockyard to Gunwharf, and cruise liners berthing at the dockyard so that passengers from around the world could soak up our unbeatable maritime heritage .
But there’s more. Bids have gone in for funds to build an International Boatbuilding Training College, plus a University of Portsmouth centre to support small start-up companies.
Peter Goodship, chief executive of the property trust and chairman of the City Development Group, part of the city council-backed Shaping the Future project, says: ‘We are aiming to create a waterfront where there is a rich mixture of places to learn, work, eat, visit and live.’
While we mustn’t forget other parts of the city – and we’ve already called for badly-needed improvements to its traditional retail heart in Commercial Road – isn’t it great to see such bold vision?