Published: 00:01, 05 October 2017
The biggest office building seen in Kent for 20 years is close to being completed less than a year after construction began.
Developers behind the multi-million pound Commercial Quarter at Dover Place in Ashford started building work in January.
They reached an important milestone on Monday when contractors placed the last beam at the top of the six-storey structure at a topping out ceremony.
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Bosses at development company Quinn Estates – which is leading the project in partnership with George Wilson Developments – say they have already agreed for a dentist and accountancy firm to move in.
Chief executive Mark Quinn said: “It is the biggest office building Kent has seen in the last two decades and it is the tallest building we have done at Quinn Estates.
“I think it will make a massive difference to this area, and it is an exciting opportunity for businesses looking to relocate locally, or from London and further afield.
“This project is expected to create 600 jobs for the borough, and is the result of the council and ourselves working together to make things happen.
"The Ashford Commercial Quarter is 75% full and we are in discussions with a financial services group to take the remaining space."
Developers expect the building to be completed in January next year, with the first firms taking up the space in March.
The development, which includes office, restaurant and retail space, will create 481 full-time jobs when finished.
More than 300 construction positions have already been created and accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy is the first tenant taking up the top floor, with a cosmetic dentist signed up to take on a ground-floor spot.
The Commercial Quarter is one of Ashford Borough Council’s Big 8 projects – a series of major schemes that the council says will transform Ashford and regenerate the town centre.
Ashford Borough Council leader councillor Gerry Clarkson called the town the “number one business location in Kent”.
VIDEO: KentOnline speaks to developer Mark Quinn at the topping out ceremony
He said: “I am confident it will be a catalyst for delivery of new jobs and opportunities that our international town of Ashford needs.
“This is a key strategic site, which has been earmarked for development for some time.
“Yet it is only since this council stepped in and acquired it and undertook its own master planning and marketing that this proposal has come forward.”
Woodchurch resident Tommy Dawes, 30, was appointed project manager last year.
“This is the biggest building I have worked on,” he said.
“I am local and it is close to home and close to my heart too. It is great when my family drive past and sees the development going up.
“I have worked my way up and it is brilliant to be project manager on it.”
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