IT promises to be one of Huddersfield’s biggest redevelopment projects, breathing new life into one of the town’s largest landmarks.
The St George’s Quarter project will transform St George’s Warehouse into 160,000 sq ft and five floors of premium offices in a scheme costing up to £20m.
And developers HD1 have invited the public to see their progress on February 28 from 2.30pm-7pm.
The Warehouse – completed in 1883 – has remained empty since the late 1970s and numerous projects to convert the Grade II listed building into shops, offices and a car park have failed.
But after seven years of careful planning, HD1 hopes St George’s Quarter will attract businesses from across the country, creating an additional 1,600 jobs.
The development, scheduled for completion in December 2009, will retain the original walls, floors and windows but will include a large glass hallway in the centre to spread light around the building.
The building – formerly owned by British Rail – will have pedestrian and vehicle entrances from New North Road and Fitzwilliam Street respectively.
A £1m marketing suite is under construction to tempt prospective clients.
HD1 managing director Tom Finch explains: “We looked at the history of the building, all the problems and why the building hadn’t been redeveloped. That’s why it’s taken so long to get to where we are now.
“St George’s Warehouse is the gateway to Huddersfield, particularly as far as the railway is concerned. Everybody knows the building and we think there will be a lot of interest.
“We’re very sure there’s a market in Huddersfield for high-quality office accommodation in a town centre location. There’s nowhere else in central Huddersfield where you can get large offices to grade-A standard.
“St George’s has been a poor reflection on Huddersfield because its so prominent. Anyone travelling to Huddersfield or commuting between Leeds and Manchester will be looking out of the window waiting for the train to move off and thinking: ‘What a dump! Why aren’t they doing something with that?’
“We’re hoping to bring people from outside Huddersfield and marketing Huddersfield as a business opportunity for all companies to relocate. Why go to Leeds? Why go to Manchester? Why go to Sheffield when you’re having to pay that premium?
“For visual impact and amenity I don’t think there’s anything that compares in Huddersfield.”