Loft living is coming to Preston with the aim of revitalising the city centre like Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.
Architects have unveiled a £2.5m plan to convert a former carriage works in Guildhall Street into 17 luxury apartments to attract residents back into the heart of the business district.
The project is thought to be the first loft-style warehouse scheme in the city centre and developers hope it will act as an impetus for others.
“Bringing people back into the centre to live, work and play has helped to revitalise the day and night-time economies of other northern cities,” said Neil Thornton a director at Etc Urban Developments.
“The intention is for this warehouse conversion project to act as a catalyst for further regeneration and residential projects, bringing increased vitality to Preston’s city centre.”
Loft living has been the height of fashion in New York since the swinging sixties. Now many cities have used the idea to inject new life into central business areas vacated by residents years ago.
The development in Guildhall Street will convert a 120-year-old former carriage works and yeast warehouse into luxury living units above a street level commercial space aimed at restaurant, cafe bar or retail use.
“Our plan is to restore this building back to its original appearance, bringing an historic and important commercial building in Preston from the Victorian era back to full use in the 21st century,” explained Neil Thornton.
“We believe Preston city centre needs the kind of historic residential development that has helped to transform the centres of other northern cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.”
Work on the stylish duplex apartments is ready to start, if the project gets the go-ahead from the city’s planning committee.
The building’s exterior will be refurbished to its original red brick appearance. It was built in the 1890s to house the Union Carriage Works and taken over by the United Yeast Company in the 1920s. Most of the apartments will have west-facing roof terraces.
Etc Urban say the project will give homebuyers in Preston their first opportunity to secure a true loft-style living experience in the heart of the Winckley Square Conservation Area.
“The warehouse will be sympathetically restored retaining as many original features as possible for both residents and the community to enjoy,” added Neil. “We’re fortunate the building’s first use as a carriage manufactory was later taken over by the United Yeast Company and used for storage, which helped preserve these features for decades.”