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High quality, higher-density developments are the only cost effective solution for town and city centre regeneration in the new age of reduced urban investment and development, according to international architects Haskoll. John Geeson, a director of the award-winning practice, was speaking as the dramatic glass two towers of Ilford’s new landmark development Pioneer Point, designed by Haskoll’s London-based team for Empire Property Group International Ltd, move towards completion at the end of 2011. He said “Retail real estate development funded a large proportion of city regeneration over the last decade. Much has been phenomenally successful in reinvigorating declining towns and cities but it has often come at an increased cost.” The Haskoll-designed Pioneer Point is a mixed-use development on the site of the town’s former Pioneer Market Site. It is already a distinctive marker for Ilford town centre with its 35-storey North Tower and 27-storey South Tower. The project is part of the Redbridge council’s Ilford Area Action Plan driving regeneration along the Crossrail corridor. Haskoll has designed the building to meet high sustainability standards it hopes will be followed by future developments across East London. Haskoll’s John Geeson said: “This type of development, producing around 3300 habitable rooms per hectare, reduces pressure on the surrounding and infinitely precious resource of green-belt land. We believe that high quality mixed use developments of this type are also necessary for Ilford to maintain its position as a significant and retail centre and desirable residential location, backed up with efficient services and transport links, it will also provide the local population with a variety of employment opportunities. Most importantly, it is affordable.” Work recommended on site in January last year. The project had previously stalled after original contractors Lanscville Construction Ltd, went into administration in 2009. Since the project was taken over by London & Regent Construction Management Ltd with Haskoll as architects and lead consultants, progress has been impressive. The development for Empire Property Group, on a site that is only 0.216 hectares, consists of 294 residential apartments across the two towers, 72,000 square feet of lettable commercial floor space and basement car park for 60 resident’s cars and 130 bicycles. Pioneer Point is three minutes walk from Ilford railway station – a short 15 minute commute to Liverpool Street and the city of London.