Work has finished on a £2.5m transformation of the former EH Booths headquarters, tearoom and warehouses in Glovers Court, Preston. TSS Property, which has carried out the work on the City Bridge Apartments, said nine of the units have sold.
What’s the background?
TSS Property Ltd said they wanted to try a new concept after the lease renewal for the building they owned came up.They said they it was “the first high street living concept”in Preston.
What do they say?
A spokesman for TSS Property Ltd said: “It’s been a journey in many ways. With it being a listed building built in 1860’s, it was full of surprises and a lot of hard work was put in to preserve the ornate features of the building.
"A lot of time and money was invested. From a commercial stand point, a developer would try and avoid buildings like this as the cost to convert is huge. This is why many buildings stay derelict and left to rot.
"We have a passion to improve Preston and drive our high street. We are doing our bit and we need other developers and businesses to do the same.”
He added: "It certainly differs from your basic 1960’s office to resi conversion. Those types of buildings are very straight forward with very few restrictions.
"We had a very good team and each person has an eye for detail. The way this conversion has been put together is a real credit to all those local contractors involved. The amount of blood, sweat and tears gone into this project will is outweighed by the results we have achieved.
"Booths had this iconic building from the start and it is very well known to many Prestonian’s. It was a shame it was left to rot over the past 30-plus years but we are very happy to bring it back to use and hopefully add another 150-plus years to the buildings use.
"There will be a handful of residential buildings in Preston, if not Lancashire that will have this type of historic features still in them.
"The way we have kept the original features and tied the new with the old is a credit in itself which many would struggle to do. It is a real masterpiece now and whoever becomes the lucky owners of these beautiful apartments will certainly enjoy and cherish what has been created for them.
"Every inch of the building had to be looked at and planned meticulously. From the handmade timber double glazed windows to the ornate plaster work, timber wall panelling and staircases. Every job required a specialist in that field to overcome the difficulties and result in this beautiful building being restored."
What’s the response?
People buying the apartments range from young professionals to international buyers and retired couples.
The spokesman added: “We did not expect this much demand and we only started to market them to test the waters. But responses have been fantastic and we have been pleased to sell the majority to owner occupiers and one or two investors.”
He added: "We’ve had a few people who are relocating from Manchester which are great signs for Preston.
"As Manchester becomes more congested and expensive, they are seeing Preston as a secondary cheaper alternative where living costs are more reasonable and work is only 35 minutes away on a train. So it’s nice to see this shift especially with a thriving university and the number of businesses and developers seeing Preston as up and coming."
The spokesman added: “We are always on the lookout for similar projects. We have a few in the pipeline which will come to fruition over the next 18-24 months but we are actively looking to invest in Preston and keep our business within the city.
"It’s fantastic to be part of the city’s growth and I hope we can carry on with support from the people of Preston, the council and other local businesses."