McLaren Living has been formally announced as the development partner for Reading’s Minster Quarter Central.

And Reading Borough Council has released a new image of the proposed Hexagon Square which will be part of the public realm in the £250 million development.

McLaren Living, which is also partnering with Broad Street Mall owner AEW, will drive the scheme which may include:

  • More than 600 new homes, 30 per cent of them affordable
  • Around 40,000 sq ft of new commercial space including new workspace, retail, food and beverage space and a 102-bed hotel
  • Public space including Hexagon Square as a gateway to the theatre.

McLaren Living aims for all-electric, energy efficient systems, designed to maximise on-site renewable energy generation. The development promises a net gain in biodiversity and new pedestrian and cycle routes. A new charter market will replace the current Hosier Street market.

The 5.2-acre site is intended to become a new gateway to and from Russell Street,  the Castle Hill Conservation Area and West Reading.

The wider Minster Quarter area includes further schemes including S2 Estates’ plans for Reading Police Station, The Broad Street Mall’s development proposals and the council’s Levelling Up-funded extension to the Hexagon. Eventually more than 1,200 homes could be built.

Reading Borough Council leader Cllr Jason Brock said: “The regeneration of the Minster Quarter represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver one of the best located mixed-use development opportunities in the UK, right in the heart of Reading town centre.

“Our key aims throughout have been to secure desperately needed affordable housing for Reading, high quality public realm and a net zero development, in line with our wider net-zero ambitions.

“The preferred bidder has come forward with hugely exciting proposals which tick all of these important boxes and more, including more family-sized homes which we know are in short supply in Reading, a brand new civic space as a gateway to a revitalised Hexagon Theatre, which will contribute to its growth as a destination for arts and culture, a new community hub and, through our commitment to social value, around 100 new local jobs post construction.

“The council has secured this landmark £250m investment in economic, environmental and community benefits for the local population. This council’s ethos is to ensure everybody in Reading can benefit from the town’s undoubted success, and the Minster Quarter Central project is the perfect example of how that can be achieved.

“We have sought to secure a prospective partner in McLaren Living who understand and share the council’s vision for the site, with a strong commitment to social value and experience of working successfully in partnership to achieve outstanding quality development, and with the potential to create a landmark destination. I look forward to seeing these exciting plans come to fruition over the coming years.”

Matthew Biddle, managing director of McLaren Living, said: “We are extremely proud to have been selected to deliver Minster Quarter and look forward to working with Reading Borough Council to regenerate this key town centre site.

“Our ambition is to create a new mixed-use neighbourhood which transforms this historic part of the town, bringing new public realm, much-needed new homes, high-quality employment space and enhances the Hexagon Theatre.

“We already have a strong presence in the area, and we are committed to working with local stakeholders to deliver a new community for all and enhance the great town of Reading.”

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