A CONTRACTOR is set to be appointed to deliver the Time Square regeneration project – but costs to complete the planned £107 million scheme have increased.
The transformational town centre project will take a major step forward next Tuesday when the council's executive board meets to appoint a contractor.
Members will consider a report detailing a fixed price, multi-million pound contract for the preferred firm to construct a Cineworld multiplex cinema, restaurants units, permanent market hall, council offices and a public square.
The name of the successful contractor will be announced in the coming weeks following the conclusion of 'legal formalities', with work due to commence in summer.
Council chief executive Steven Broomhead said: "The transformational Time Square scheme is set to revitalise Warrington's town city centre, bringing an attractive, family friendly, leisure, restaurant and shopping offer, which will complement Warrington's successful Golden Square."
When open in 2019, Time Square will also be home to the 1,160 space multi-storey car park, which is nearing completion.
The building that will become a temporary home for the market is currently being fitted out and the market will relocate to that location in August.
The cinema has increased from the original proposal for an eight-screen to a 13-screen multiplex with a Superscreen, resulting in an increased overall cost of the development.
There has also been a cost increase as a result of 'current global trading conditions', though, on completion in 2019 the scheme is set to continue to 'create significant income' for the council 'at similar levels as have been previously reported'.
In a report to executive members, council leader Cllr Terry O'Neill calmed fears over the increase of costs.
He said: "The scheme has increased in capital cost but has also benefitted from more favourable finance that means it still delivers a similar income to the council.
"The project therefore has the ability to deliver a viable scheme, which delivers the regeneration and catalyst to the town centre.
"Despite an increase in overall costs and some reduction in income to reflect actual market conditions, the scheme still provides the council with a unique opportunity for a commercially and financially viable town centre regeneration development."
The new cost estimates will be discussed in part two of the meeting.
The executive board is recommended to approve the revised costs and to authorise the director of finance officer 'to borrow sufficient funds' to meet the revised costs of the scheme and 'to determine the blend of borrowing that is in the best financial interests of the council'.
It is also recommended to award the contract for the phase four works of the masterplan.
Work commenced on the construction of Time Square in 2015.
It is being developed by Warrington & Co on behalf of the council, with development partner Muse.