Photo gallery: Crane towers over Norwich as steel structure of two extra floors are added to Westlegate Tower
A looming addition has been added to the cityscape of Norwich this week, as a huge crane capable of lifting 10 tonnes helps to transform one of the city’s tallest buildings.
The £8m redevelopment of the derelict Westlegate Tower, once dubbed one of Norwich’s ugliest buildings, is continuing on schedule and is due to be completed by Christmas.
The 11-storey building is being transformed into 17 luxury flats, along with two townhouses and three commercial units, after being bought by Norwich-based FW Properties in a joint-venture with London company Soho Estates in 2011.
But yesterday people in the city centre were left looking to the skies as the building work reached its next stage and a huge crane towered above even the city’s tallest buildings.
With a maximum radius of 60 metres (196ft) and a maximum height of over 67m (219ft), the crane has a lifting height of 35m (114ft) and can lift a maximum weight of 10 tonnes (10,000kg).
The impressive hydraulic tower crane folds down to the size of an articulated lorry and will do so at the end of the working day until next Monday evening, when its work is due to be completed.
Ian Fox, who owns FW Properties with Julian Wells, explained that the crane had been used to lift the steel structure of the “crown” of the building, which will add two extra stories to the tower.
The new height of the building will see it tower above Norwich Castle and rival the peak of Norwich Cathedral’s spire.
“We are now going to be able to see the extra height of the building once we lift all the steelwork up there,” Mr Fox said.
Westlegate House was built in 1959 by WS Lusher and Son Ltd. It was originally an office building occupied by several insurance companies including Provident and Mutual.
But it had been empty for 14 years when it was purchased in 2011, with McDonalds having moved out of the ground floor in 2006.
Mr Fox said the good summer weather has allowed the building work to progress at a good pace and said the public will be able to see the building’s glasswork being fitted from September.
The building should then be watertight and ready to be decorated before the end of the year, with Mr Fox adding: “The plan has always been for the tower to be completed by Christmas and then secondly on to the new ground floor buildings (on the Timberhill side of the tower) being completed in the spring.”
- For more information about the development of Westlegate Tower, click here: Photo gallery: £8m redevelopment of Westlegate House in Norwich set for completion next spring
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