Building redevelopments are hugely important to maintaining the history and natural equilibrium of a community. The Old Post Office building in Leeds offers one prime and luxurious example.
Built in 1896 by Sir Henry Tanner, the building has recently been redeveloped into a series of luxury-serviced apartments known as Residence 6. Without the redevelopment of the building, its beauty, grandeur and historical significance would be laid slain for future generations to enjoy. Located at City Square, at the heart of the city, the Victorian building served for many years as Leeds’ primary post office and telephone exchange. In 2005 the picturesque building was redeveloped by Highstone Estates to the tune of £8 million. Now a grade II listed building, it is hard to ignore the attraction and benefits of redevelopment.
Grade Listed buildings are imperative to our culture and provide us with a sense of who we are and what our communities are about. In fact, the idea of conserving merited buildings of particular interest came about during World War Two when the Royal Institute of British Architects became concerned about the damage caused during bombing raids. The list was originally used as a means of determining whether certain buildings should be rebuilt after bombing had taken place. After the war was over, the list continued into peaceful times and recorded buildings that should be conserved and redeveloped. Grade I buildings are buildings which are of exceptional interest and sometimes internationally important (such as Buckingham Palace), 2.5% of all listed buildings are of Grade I category. Similarly, Grade II listed buildings are those that are considered just above the special interest of Grade II buildings. Grade II buildings comprise 92% of all listed buildings.
Not only can redevelopment of an old building be very lucrative for you, but it can also spurn a new lease of life into a community and provide the local economy with a much-needed boost. If we take a quick look at the redevelopment of the Old Post Office building in Leeds and use this as an example; we can take a look into just how the Residence 6 redevelopment helped the local community.
During any redevelopment, skilled and experienced craftsmen are required during the process, with a predicted figure of around 45000 construction jobs to be lost in 2012 alone, redeveloping a building can provide a lifeline to local communities and businesses. Not only this but the jobs that are provided after redevelopment is complete, ensures that the building keeps on giving to the community long after the scaffolding has been taken away. As the building in question also features a Loch Fyne restaurant in its basement, this means that hundreds of jobs can be provided just through the simple act of using one’s imagination whilst planning the development of an old building.
Besides historical, economic and community benefits, it is a little known fact that redeveloping a building can also help the environment. Whereas building a new set of flats from scratch not only uses valuable resources, they also take a vast amount of land that is usually found to be greenery beforehand. The loss of greenery in the United Kingdom is tragic; eight out of ten woodland sites in the UK now comprise a space of less than 49 acres and Green Belts throughout England now cover just less than 13% of the land. Re-developing provides homes that are already pre-built and do not take up extra land through their conversion. Another bonus of redevelopment is that it can offer the opportunity to make a building more eco-friendly by installing renewable energy features which weren’t previously there. Although you certainly won’t see Photovoltaic panels or wind turbines upon the roof of the Old Post Office building any time soon; features can be altered internally throughout the building to make it more environmentally sustainable. The simple act of laying insulation in wall cavities and roofs will dramatically change the amount of carbon dioxide that any building produces during any given year. In fact if a typical household can save 720kg of carbon dioxide ever year by installing insulation, just imagine what a building the size of Buckingham Palace could save!
This guest article was written by Andrew Jessop for Residence Six Serviced Apartments.