Work has commenced on the first phase of the £85million redevelopment of Essex's Chelmsford home. Contractors are now on-site with the first enabling works already completed.
The development will revolutionise the club facilities by delivering a new cricket centre, pavilion, media centre and bar, club shop and stadium upgrade, increasing the capacity from 4,500 to 7,500 seats.
The pavilion will offer extensive catering and event facilities, and will be Chelmsford's premier banqueting venue.
These facilities will be built as part of the next two phases expected to start in 2014. The scheme incorporates the New Writtle Street Car Park being replaced by a new multi-storey car park, to include the public and club car park spaces. Chelmsford City Council's co-operation has been an important factor in the development.
A new public piazza will form the heart of the scheme, featuring retail and leisure facilities, with pedestrian footbridge access to the city centre. Luxury apartment living will be brought to the city across four stylishly designed towers, three located adjacent to the River Can, with the fourth forming an integral part of the stadium overlooking the pitch.
The apartments will provide residents with the convenience of a short walk into the city centre, and the benefit of stunning views across aspects such as Central Park, the cricket field and city-scape beyond. A purpose-built multi-storey car park, in addition to separate allocated parking for many apartments, will ensure the needs of residents and visitors alike, are catered for.
Initial construction work in this first phase will be focused on Tower A, located furthest from the stadium and adjacent to Central Park. Nearly 90% of apartments in this tower have already been sold, with only a small number still available.
Keith Brown, chairman of Essex's ground development panel, said: "Following years in the planning and after overcoming numerous hurdles, to start this development is a huge step forward and very exciting.
“It will lead to the creation of state of the art facilities for Essex Cricket Club, its team, academy, members and sponsors, with banqueting and meeting facilities for the local community and businesses. It will also have the capability of staging exhibitions and conferences."