Jackson Civil Engineering has won the first £6.4m deal at Gateway 14 in Stowmarket, Suffolk for site infrastructure work.
The development, by Gateway 14 Ltd (wholly owned by Mid Suffolk District Council) and development manager, Jaynic, will provide a new base for manufacturing, logistics and R&D businesses as well as providing innovation space for smaller and start-up businesses.
It is part of Freeport East – one of only eight freeports in the UK which provide businesses with a host of benefits including tax reliefs and simplified customs arrangements.
Cllr Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, said: “This is a hugely important development for Mid Suffolk and the wider region.
“Gateway 14 has the potential to not only attract businesses to the area but also create a range of employment opportunities in the district. It is a key part of our vision in building a thriving and sustainable future for the residents and communities of Mid Suffolk.”
Gateway 14 chair Sir Christopher Haworth said: “This ground-breaking marks a significant milestone in the development of Gateway 14 and will open up the park for the construction of the first buildings.
“I am delighted that we have an excellent team to deliver this project and look forward to working with them to create a landmark development that is high-quality, sustainable, and fit for the future.”
The start of construction marks the first physical development across any of the Freeport East sites which include Felixstowe, Harwich and four customs sites.
George Kieffer, Acting Chairman of Freeport East said: “Freeport East is a transformational initiative providing a total of 275 hectares of development opportunities in an area around the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich.
“Freeport status will attract new and additional investment in world-leading infrastructure and innovation, driving the Green Industrial Revolution and providing extensive re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities to transform the life chances of thousands of people.
“Today’s ground-breaking ceremony represents the first tangible step on this exciting journey.”