Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New: Plans to convert Howard Building submitted

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Classrooms, laboratories and offices inside the historic Howard Building in Rotherham town centre could be converted into flats under recently submitted plans.

The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction in September after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son.

Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (RCAT) first put the four storey, 58,000 sq ft building up for sale in 2012 with Rotherham Council acting as marketing agents but there wasn't any takers.

The Howard Street site was due to go under the hammer on September 16, being sold freehold with vacant possession and was advertised as having potential for alternative uses subject to planning permission which could include office, retail, hotel and residential use.

Now a planning application has been submitted by Avro Developments Limited to convert part of the lower ground floor and the second floor into 42, 452 sq ft self-contained studios and 11, 226 sq ft one bedroom apartments. Further plans could create a total of 160 "stylish 1-bedroom and starter pads."

External work to the 1930's building is set to include replacement glazing, new windows and proposed parking spaces.

Investors are already being sought for the units within the development, given the name "Howard Residencies," with guide prices from £49,950 to £69,950.

The brochure describes the development: "From dynamic apartment layouts to classic period fa├žade and stonework surrounds, Howard Residences brings together Rotherham past and present to create a truly unique place to live for post-graduates, young professionals and key workers.

"Apartments are arranged over four floors and include one bedroom and studio designs. Each unit has been carefully considered, incorporating well-thought layouts that maximise both space and style."

Avro Developments Limited is a newly established company and is also promoting a similar scheme in Halifax.

The Howard Buildings operated as part of the college and also housed the council's environmental health teams. It was deemed surplus to requirements and was vacated in September 2012. The college has gone on to invest over £15m in the improving the facilities in the town centre after securing government funding and a £5m loan from the council.

The building has an internal area of 42,000 sq ft and includes classrooms, offices, common room, library and meeting rooms. Part of the basement floor has been more recently been used as a nursery.

Avro Developments website

Images: Avro Developments

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