After 30 years of proposition to the Bradford Council, The Priestly Group has at long last made a breakthrough in its push to convert the Cape Street Conditioning House, a former textile testing centre, into an apartment complex, featuring 130 apartments, offices, a gym and cafe. Early estimates place the construction phase around 18 months with an estimated cost of ₤8.5 Million.
This is not the first attempt at such renovations, as The Conditioning House has stood since 1902 and been empty since 1980. While many different owners pursued similar plans, nothing ever made it to the approval stage until The Priestly Group’s acquisition of the property 12 months ago. They are eager to move things forward, hoping to secure approval before the end of the year to begin construction before the New Year. Singapore-based Mumiment serves as a venture partner in this project and will provide financial investment.
Nathan Priestly, chief executive officer of Priestly group, had the following to say; “It is a very exciting project and as far as I am aware will be the biggest conversion of its kind near the city centre.”
“It is a very overused term, but the building is majestic. Its conversion will make a wonderful place to live, near to amenities and the heart of the city.”
“I am Bradford-born and bred and to have been a part of the regeneration of the city centre so far has been very special.”
“Over the past five years our company has been involved in the conversion and refurbishment of a number of properties in Bradford, such as Airedale House, the Grand Mill in Sunbridge Road, Grattan House and premises in Quebec Street.
“It wasn’t until we bought the building that a family member told me my grandfather, Ronnie Priestley, used to work there as a driver.”
An additional benefit is the securing of about 100 on-site jobs as well as another 500 jobs locally through suppliers. Parking is also outlined in the plans, providing adjacent parking for between 100 to 150 vehicles, as well as securing street side parking for residents only.
Rob Pell, head of the construction department for the Leeds-based construction company, added: “The talks so far with the Council have been good and we are optimistic.”
“If everything goes according to plan we could be looking at starting work in December.”
“It is difficult to give an exact estimate of how long it would take to complete, but something of this size would normally be around 18 months.”
Preliminary operations have already begun. Asbestos removal is already underway, along with enabling work over the next 2 weeks in preparation for the real construction. So far things seem to be going smoothly and on-schedule with expectations.
Mr Priestley added: “As a company, we have invested heavily in Bradford’s regeneration over the past five years with several empty building conversion projects delivered to date.”
“We operate across the north of England, specializing in building conversions and in particular, listed buildings.
“Although other cities provide a more secure and higher return of investment, speaking bluntly, I am born and bred in Bradford, as are multiple generations of my family so I put a lot of emphasis on the city.”
Other parties seem to share Priestly’s optimism and satisfaction. Allan Booth, chairman of Bradford Property Forum, said the news was “very good”.
“The building has been empty for going on 30 years so to hear that something is going to be done with it.
“I am pleased to hear of the plans for mixed development too.”
Si Cunningham, chairman of Bradford Civic Society added: “Conditioning House has been unloved for far too long, so it’s good to see a full restoration is finally on the cards, and that another one of our grand old industrial buildings is coming back to life.
“In a parallel universe, this part of the city would be Bradford’s thriving answer to Liverpool’s Albert Dock, full of life and things to do.”
It certainly seems that all involved aren’t about to lose their momentum and will only capitalize and improve upon the work they have started. It’s quite disheartening to watch once-respected icons of your city’s history fall into obscurity, and Conditioning House is one of many buildings who have similarly fallen into disrepair and projects such as this restore them to relevancy and aiding their community now just as they did in the past. The applications are endless, and would only benefit all involved.
This breakthrough was only made possible due to the knowledge, care, interest and passion of all parties involved, and stands as a testament to what a united community is. Hopefully this victory will pave the way for future restoration efforts and the amazing things that can be achieved by working together. The foundation can be set, but it takes others to build upon it.
Estate Agents & Letting Agents in Bradford
Priestley Estate Agents & Lettings provide and manage affordable student lettings and residential property to rent in Bradford City Centre along with apartments and houses to rent in the Allerton, Barkerend, Great Horton, Heaton, Thornton, Tong and Wilsden areas.
Our Bradford office is located opposite the main doors to Bradford University adjacent to Subway. There is free parking to the rear of our offices for 1 hour (Sainsbury’s Car park). There is also free on street parking for 1 hour adjacent to our office on Claremont Road.