DERBY'S push to encourage more people to live in the city centre officially begins on Saturday as the first completed homes at the £100 million Castleward development open their doors to the public.
Compendium Living, the developer behind the scheme, will be holding a special open event this weekend to launch Castleward.
It will showcase the first of around 800 new homes that are being built as part of the regeneration of the 33-acre site between the Intu Derby shopping centre and Derby Midland railway station.
So far, two show homes have been completed – a three-bedroom property, known as the Crompton, and a two-bedroom home, called the Betterton.
Both properties are located on a new boulevard, which has been created as part of the scheme. The boulevard will be lined with new shops and the new Crompton property is situated above these units. It features a decked balcony at the front, offering commanding views of the boulevard and a large decked patio at the rear.
The Betterton is aimed primarily at young professional couples.
Compendium managing director Dave Bullock said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the finish of the show homes. The Castleward urban village is now starting to come to life and I cannot wait to show the people of Derby the quality of these new properties.
"During the winter, the build was hampered by the extremely wet weather and issues regarding supply of materials as the construction market started booming again. But we are now back on track and when people see just how good these properties are they will see that it has been worth the wait."
A number of new two, three and four-bedroom homes will also be released for sale over the weekend, allowing those who like the show homes to reserve their own property.
Once completed, as well as featuring hundreds of new homes, the new-look Castleward will feature commercial units, shops, amenities and open spaces.
Nick Hosking, director at Derby commercial property agents Innes England, is in charge of securing tenants for the retail units.
He said: "We are looking for tenants that fit with the Castleward brand: Quality, independent operators who are unique to Derby."
Castleward is being built across a number of phases. The first phase comprises 164 homes, 16,500sq ft of commercial space and the tree-lined boulevard.
Mr Bullock said: "We are not just offering a property, we are offering a lifestyle. Living in Castleward places you right in the heart of the city, close to all of the main shopping areas and the railway station.
"We've had lots of interest already in the properties and to be able to now show people a tangible product, tastefully furnished, which will, I'm sure, persuade potential buyers that Castleward is the place to be."
Councillor Martin Rawson, deputy leader of Derby City Council and cabinet member for planning, environment and regeneration, said: "I'm delighted to see this development rise out of the ground and improve the area between the city centre and the railway station.
"The council developed plans to ensure the area was regenerated in an exciting way and would provide much-needed housing. It's great to see Compendium developing a vibrant urban village that will help Derby to build on its strengths and make it a city that people choose to live, work and visit."
The Castleward show homes will be open over the weekend from 10am to 5pm. They will then be open daily.