Having purchased the former Sainsbury store in Newport The Fear Group is now ploughing ahead with a major redevelopment including student accommodation, social housing and retail areas.
“We bought the Sainsbury’s site in 2010 for cash as in the eye of the recession, coupled with the general election that was taking place that year, the construction sector was very slow at the time,” explains Stephen Fear, Chairman. “We felt it was a wonderful site, in a fantastic location and that Newport as a city was only going in an upwards direction. We therefore felt it was a great opportunity to develop a project, although we weren’t sure exactly what at the time. Thankfully we buy everything with a 30-year view so we are never under any pressure to do anything, which puts us in a great position to take our time and fully explore our options.”
With its long-term approach, and having seen the potential of the Newport site, The Fear Group has approval for 601 student flats, 142 residential apartments, including 28 affordable, a 4,500 sq ft supermarket, a 84-bed hotel and a 6,500 sq ft health precinct to include a doctor’s, a dentist’s and a vet’s. The hotel will also have a large cafe that will also serve the local community generally.
“We’ve commenced demolition to clear the site for the development stage, which we hope to crack on with in spring/summer,” adds Mr Fear. “We have to complete the student apartments by July 2017 because we’re officially partnering the University of South Wales and they are closing the Caerleon campus, which has been open for many years, displacing just under 2,000 students. They will therefore need accommodation for the autumn term of 2017. We are the only people that will be able to provide that level of accommodation in the city centre. Our student village will be an 11-minute walk from the campus without crossing any roads. We are also creating a female-friendly walk to make it as safe as possible. We certainly have a deadline to aim for and to concentrate the mind.”
With everything now beginning to fall in place, it’s clear that Newport has plenty to look forward to and The Fear Group will play an integral role in this.