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Regional Spotlight: Ipswich

02 June 2004
Regional Spotlight: Ipswich

Ipswich, the county town of Suffolk, has roots going back to Saxon times.

In the last few years the town has seen a mass of development, the bulk of which has been centred on the former commercial docks which have been turned into a leisure marina and waterfront development. A new hotel, the Salthouse Harbour, opened there earlier this year and another is planned.

There has also been a lot of activity on the bars and restaurants front, with some established operators moving premises to be at the heart of the waterfront development. "Ipswich is one to watch," says Bob Whittle, director of the Sudbury office of chartered surveyor Fleurets. "The development there has been tremendous and there's more to come."

Supporting the boom in hospitality businesses has been the conversion of former warehouses into offices and a number of mixed-use developments in the centre. One upcoming opportunity for operators is the Isaac Lord building, part of which will be given over to restaurant use.

Whittle says restaurant operators in the city are "a growing breed", but as the city centre is saturated they are increasingly starting to locate on the edge of the city centre. And in recent years the traditional drinking area of St Nicholas Street has largely been ceded to restaurants.

There are plenty of opportunities for first-timers, says Whittle, especially with pub properties, where as little as £25,000 can get you a foot on the ladder.

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