Development partner sought for site of huge potential in Reading town centre

Reading Borough Council has begun the process of seeking a development partner to deliver a best in class, legacy development at Minster Quarter Central in the heart of Reading.

Minster Quarter Central is a site of huge potential located adjacent to the famous Hexagon Theatre and is the former site of the Civic Centre offices. It is situated at the heart of Reading’s hugely attractive and bustling town centre, which acts as the region’s main shopping destination. Reading is a major south-east transport hub soon to will soon benefit from Elizabeth Line services to Bond Street taking just 53 minutes.

The opportunity comprises of council-owned land between Hosier Street, Queen’s Walk and Castle Street, which includes the Civic Car Park and surrounding public realm.

A hugely significant regeneration is planned for the area over the coming years, with approximately 600 flats proposed on surrounding sites outside of the council’s ownership, as well as the potential for significant investment in The Hexagon Theatre in the next few years (subject to success of current Government funding bids).

On behalf of the council, Eddisons is conducting a developer selection tender process and will host a procurement launch event on 14 September at 10am at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading. This is where prospective bidders can meet council leaders and gain a valuable insight into the economic powerhouse which is Reading, and this incredibly exciting development opportunity at the centre of it.

Minster Quarter Central represents an unprecedented opportunity to develop a 5.2 acre (2.1 ha) site as one of the best located mixed-use development opportunities in the UK and with the potential to create a landmark destination just minutes walk from the Oracle shopping centre. The Minster Quarter Central development site forms part of the wider Minster Quarter Area and the completed scheme will have a unique character and sense of place as an inviting new gateway into the town centre from the west.

The council’s vision for Minster Quarter Central is the creation of ‘a high quality, sustainable and inclusive location that has Reading people, businesses and arts, culture and community at its heart’.

The regeneration offers opportunities for urban living as part of a thriving new community which offers a mix of tenures alongside a commercial, arts and cultural offer that will re-invigorate the public realm and breathe new life into this area of town and contributes to inclusive growth, employment and wider regeneration for the benefit of Reading.

A number of key objectives have been identified to help inform discussions with potential bidders which include appropriate levels of affordable housing across a mix of tenures; high quality public realm including a positive response to the impacts of the adjacent Inner Distribution Ringroad (IDR) on residents and a zero-carbon development in accordance with the council’s Climate Emergency commitment.

Reading Council leader Jason Brock said: “Minster Quarter Central offers massive potential to revitalise a key  corner of Reading which is also located in the heart of our hugely attractive town centre – the region’s main shopping destination and a major transport hub in the south-east – and boasts our much-loved and ever popular Hexagon Theatre.

“We are seeking a development partner who understands and shares our vision for this strategically significant site and has a commitment to, and experience of, working successfully in partnership to achieve outstanding development quality and place-making.

“This development brings huge potential in the form of new jobs and opportunities for local people, which sits alongside this council’s ethos of ensuring everybody in the town can share in Reading’s success.”

The council’s current concept scheme for Minster Quarter Central which will be made available to bidders, has been designed to be mixed use, with commercial and retail space to complement the new homes. It is envisaged that development would be delivered over two phases, with the first phase benefiting from the council’s successful £2 million bid for Brownfield Land Release Fund grant for enabling works.

Subject to planning, redevelopment proposals for Minster Quarter Central could include residential units providing a mix of private accommodation, Build to Rent (BTR) and affordable housing, a 90-bed hotel, flexible working and conference facilities and outdoor performance space.

A comprehensive technical information pack comprising the planning and due diligence work completed to date is available by data room which can accessed on request by contacting either Javid Patel or Neil Houghton at Eddisons.