Developers McLaren Living has been named as the firm that will build Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Minster Quarter project for more than 600 new homes.
RBC has had a vision to revitalise the quarter, which was the former site of its civic centre, for years, with the project finally starting to get off the ground this year.
As well as more than 600 homes, the Minster Quarter project will also see a 100-bed hotel and 20,000 sq ft of commercial space built in the area.
This will sit alongside another 600+ homes being built by McLaren Living at the Broad Street Mall.
It is expected the builds will help provide skills, jobs and training for people in the Reading area.
McLaren Living was selected as the development partner in a closed session of the council’s policy committee on Monday, January 22. But its selection as the builder could only be revealed now following a minimum 10-day waiting period.
The firm was previously selected for plans to build hundreds of apartments at Broad Street Mall last year, in collaboration with mall owners AEW.
Both the Minster Quarter and Broad Street Mall flats projects are currently subject to planning approval by Reading Borough Council. No applications have yet been submitted.
There was a political clash last year over the amount of affordable housing that would be provided at the Minster Quarter.
RBC councillor Rob White (Green, Park), the leader of the opposition, called for 50 per cent of the homes delivered to be affordable.
At the time, it was envisaged that 618 homes would be built at the Minster Quarter, of which cllr White suggested 309 could be affordable.
However, Jason Brock (Labour, Southcote), the council leader, argued a policy-compliant 30 per cent (185 homes) would be the most appropriate level and viable for a developer to deliver.
It is understood the number of homes envisaged has been reduced to 612 so that family-sized homes could be delivered.
The Minster Quarter will be built on the former civic centre, which was demolished in 2016.
The area is currently characterised by paved walkways between Broad Street Mall and Reading Magistrates Court, with Lavender Community Gardens in place where the civic centre once stood.