Contractor appointed for £3million Rock Mills refurbishment

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(L-R) Matthew McLaughlin, Choice Senior Asset Management Officer, Shane O’Neill and Gerry Dinghy from AMSON and Michael McDonnell, Choice Group Chief Executive.

Choice Housing has appointed a Derry-Londonderry based contractor to complete a major overhaul of its Rock Mills scheme on the Strand Road in the city. The newly formed AMSON Consortium – a joint venture between local construction firm AMS Ltd and Omagh-based O’Neill Electrics Ltd – commenced the first phase of the 14-month refurbishment programme in October.

The series of works will reconfigure the Rock Mills site to provide 96 modern self-contained units with the three largest each accommodating families of four. The refurbishment will include an overhaul of all electrics and plumbing within the building and the fitting of new kitchens and bathrooms throughout, as well as a number of other upgrades to the building.

Michael McDonnell, Chief Executive of Choice, said, “Rock Mills is in great need of renovation and refurbishment to enable it to help address the urgent local housing need. We engaged in a rigorous search to find the best contractors and it is pleasing to appoint organisations that have the skills, experience and resources for a job of this size. We believe in investing in the local communities where we operate and it is an added bonus to support local businesses with projects like this.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Rock Mills. The reconfiguration of the building increases the number of homes we can provide and incorporates the very best standards and the latest in energy saving technology. It will enable tenants to make the most of quality, affordable and secure homes rights in the heart of the city.”

Gerry Donaghy, from AMSON, added, “We believe people deserve well-built and comfortable homes, whatever their circumstances. That’s why our social housing projects benefit from the same expertise, attention to detail, build and finish quality that we apply to commercial developments.

“This is an exciting and timely project for us to be involved in. The first phase of works has already started and we look forward to seeing the first new tenants take up occupancy next year. I believe our appointment reflects our successful record of delivering ambitious housing refurbishment and regeneration programmes in the region.”

Rock Mills was first opened by SHAC Housing Association in the late 1980s to serve the city’s student population and a number of single people. Approval for the upgrade was granted at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council Planning Committee at the start of October.