Plaque marks end of the beginning

THE completion of the steel superstructure of the new Fenwicks department store in Canterbury has been marked with a topping out ceremony. A commemorative plaque was laid on the top floor by company chairman Mark Fenwick, in front of more than 100 invited guests including developers, contractors and architects.

Work on the exterior of the £20 million store can now start, involving encasing the steel frame in concrete ready to receive the stonework, cornices and panels. Meanwhile bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and mechanical engineers are working on the lower ground floor level forming the new retail area.

The new store is due to open in 10 months and feature five air-conditioned shopping floors. It will have a ground floor coffee shop with outdoor terrace seating as well as a second floor restaurant with sweeping views across the city. There will be a health and beauty spa on the top floor and all floors will be linked by central escalators and lifts.

The existing Ricemans building will be demolished in the spring next year as part of the whole Whitefriars redevelopment which is not due to be completed until 2005.

*The on-going Big Dig archaeological excavation on the Whitefriars site will be the subject of a documentary by the Time Team, presented by Tony Robinson, at 9pm on Channel 4 on Monday.

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