A MILL development on the edge of Huddersfield town centre has secured its first two tenants.
Historic Folly Hall Mills is being converted into high-quality offices in a £6m scheme.
Now Huddersfield-based architect practice Above & Beyond has confirmed it will take two floors comprising 4,715sq ft of the grade II listed mills, which overlook the river Colne at Folly Hall.
The firm, which has a staff of 12, will move its operations to Folly Hall from the Media Centre at Northumberland Street in November.
And Dewsbury-based Jay Tee Group, which is developing the mill, is taking one floor at Folly Hall Mills, accounting for 2,300sq ft of space.
The company, which is basing 35 people at the site, also plans a move in November.
It means that more than 70% of the smaller mill is now let.
There are still two 2,300 sq ft office suites available. Work to convert the larger mill building will get under way in November.
Andrew Stoddart, managing director of Above & Beyond, said: “We are delighted to be moving into our new offices in November and recognise that being located in a stunning converted building will create a powerful impression to clients about how we can make a difference to their business.
“The space will act as a showcase office, allowing us to adopt 21st century ways of working including ‘hot-desking’, flat screen technology and a dedicated ‘creative space’, intended to promote free-thinking. It’s an exciting way to launch into our second decade of business.”
Folly Hall Mills is being transformed into 60,000sq ft of modern 21st century offices in two phases.
The scheme was officially launched by Clr Ken Sims, Kirklees Council cabinet member for regeneration.
The Jay Tee Group has reported a “very encouraging” list of enquiries for the old woollen mill, which has been vacant since 1993.
The group bought the property in 2005 from Amco plc for a sum exceeding £1m. The mill was previously owned by Kirklees Council.
Jay Tee project director Paul Bailey said: “We are delighted to welcome Above & Beyond to Folly Hall Mills, which we feel is a tremendous development for Huddersfield.
“It will involve significant regeneration of the riverside area, creating new employment opportunities and raising the profile of Huddersfield as a major office destination in the region.”
He said: “Altogether, there is 60,000sq ft of prime office space over five floors, which can be leased or bought. This space can be divided into office units from 2,000 sq ft upwards.
“We feel they will prove very attractive to professional services firms of all sizes, as well as to the public sector.
“The interior of Folly Mill is absolutely stunning – with vaulted ceilings, spiral staircases and exposed beams. It will be an absolutely wonderful place to work. Phase one has involved the conversion of the first of the two riverside buildings, with phase two starting shortly.”
There is also consent for a 2,500sq ft restaurant on the ground floor, which will service the office development and also be open to the general public.
The development will feature a new steel and glass structure linking the historic mills with the old engine house to create a single office building with underground parking. There will be space for 200 cars.
Joint agents for the scheme are Eddisons and Michael Steel & Co.
Paul Andrew, head of agency at Eddisons, said: “There are a number of prestigious schemes being proposed for central Huddersfield, but Folly Hall will be the first to deliver the high-quality accommodation – so full of character – that is preferred by many modern businesses and organisations.”
Alec Michael, of Michael Steel & Co, added; “There have already been a number of positive inquiries from both local and regional companies for substantial space within the scheme. Given the lack of similar high-quality office space close to the town centre, we have no doubt that this development will be extremely successful.”
The mills were built in 1844and operated until 1982.
Funds for the £6m redevelopment were secured from Swedish-based Handelsbanken, which recently opened an office in Wakefield and plans to open a branch in Huddersfield.