Through this paper, I seek to draw attention an apparent fundamental resignification of regeneration that has been taking shape over recent times. Conceptually, I engage with political economy theory in order to examine how élite economic interests have resignified the nature of state articulations of regeneration. The argument is developed that this implies a profound subversion of more marginal socio-economic interests traditionally at the heart of regeneration interventions or at least the customary ‘targets’ of such policy. Empirically, the analysis draws upon interviews conducted with those operating at the coalface of policy, politics and practice, augmented by my practical experience of the English regeneration milieu. Documenting the contested evolution of policy practice during what I term the ‘regenerating for recovery’ phase, I investigate the interactions and interconnections between meanings, modes and scales of practice. This analysis helps to demonstrate dual aspects of the resignification of regeneration as both cause and condition that has effectively legitimated and been legitimised by an austere state strategy.