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As a new construction company is appointed, is work on the £70m Altair scheme finally going to start in June?

Work on the long-delayed Altair project is set to start in June after a new developer was appointed to deliver the £70m scheme in the heart of Altrincham town centre.

Work on the long-delayed Altair project is set to start in June after a new developer was appointed to deliver the £70m scheme in the heart of Altrincham town centre.

Eric Wright Construction had originally been appointed by developer Nikal but has now walked away from the scheme and will be replaced by Altrincham-based McGoff Construction.

Nikal said that “long delays in receiving approvals for major infrastructure work, which involved liaising with Network Rail and other statutory bodies” led to it parting company with Eric Wright “after a lengthy period of discussions”.

A CGI showing Phase Two of the Altair boulevard which will stretch through 44,000 sq ft of leisure retail space, 20,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and apartments

Today’s news marks the first update on the project since July 2017, when Trafford Council granted planning consent for the second phase of Altair, encompassing four buildings housing 85 high quality apartments, 44,000 sq ft of leisure retail space and 18,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation, all around a new central “boulevard”.

Some of the delay since can be attributed to upheaval caused by the local elections in May 2018, when the Conservatives lost control of Trafford Council to Labour for the first time in 15 years.

But it’s hoped that the news will clear the path, finally, to the development getting underway – although this has been said before.

Another visual showing the 59-apartment block (left) and the Altair mixed-use development to the right

Darren Jones, Development Director at Nikal, said: “Negotiating a new contract with a new contractor for a scheme of this scale and significance is not a quick and easy task.

“Thankfully, McGoff were known to us and have repeatedly demonstrated their considerable capabilities on a variety of successful projects. It’s also satisfying to be able to appoint a local Altrincham based business, with a track record in delivering housing, retail and leisure schemes, to what is an important development in their home town.

How the now-approved Altair would look – as seen from the equivalent of the Tesco car park

“To complement their existing longstanding supply chain, McGoff intends to carry out a targeted marketing campaign including a “meet the buyer” event to encourage local tradesmen and sub-contractors to bid for some of the sub contract packages,” he adds.

Altair One, the first phase residential element within Altair, was brought to market by Nikal’s luxury homebuilding arm, Hillcrest Homes, in summer 2017. Close to 60% of the apartments are currently reserved.

New visuals (above and below) have been released showing the view from the rooftop of the Altair apartment building

James Payne, Managing Director of Hillcrest Homes, said: “The delays have obviously been disappointing for ourselves and our customers but they have been incredibly patient and understanding. The majority have chosen not to exercise their right to cancel their reservation and receive a full refund. One positive for them is that Altrincham continues to thrive. Demand for new, high quality homes within the town centre remains high and the value of their apartments continues to increase. We will be delighted to finally make a start at Altair.”

McGoff Construction’s Joint Managing Director, Dave McGoff, added: “McGoff Construction are delighted to support Nikal with the continued regeneration of our much loved home town. Not only is Altair a stunning addition to Altrincham’s skyline, such partnerships between likeminded locally based businesses will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the local economy.”