River­side flats stand high and dry what­ever weather throws at them

As flood­wa­ters rise across the UK, York’s first £1m apart­ment is at­tract­ing in­ter­est de­spite its lo­ca­tion. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

PRO­MOT­ING a property with the term “river­side” is a mar­ket­ing “no no” now thanks to fears of flood­ing but it isn’t a prob­lem for York’s most ex­pen­sive new apart­ment.

The exclusive du­plex, which sits next to the River Ouse, is not only high and dry, it comes with its very own pri­vate bridge.

The £995,000 flat, which will cost the owner more than £1m af­ter stamp duty, is on the top two floors of a Vic­to­rian cus­toms and ex­cise ware­house that sits in a flood-prone area. When the Ouse breaks its banks, the street at the rear is awash with wa­ter.

But the risk to the Bond­ing Ware­house and its res­i­dents is now min­i­mal thanks to an in­no­va­tive flood de­fence sys­tem.

De­vel­op­ers Grantside worked closely with the En­vi­ron­ment Agency and York City Coun­cil to de­vise a scheme to pro­tect the build­ing, which is in the heart of the city next to Skelder­gate Bridge.

The base­ment of the grade two listed ware­house has been left empty and will be al­lowed to flood, as was com­mon prac­tice in Vic­to­rian times. The ground floor, which will be used as of­fice space, has ben­tonite wa­ter­proof mat­ting be­tween the old brick wall and a new wall of re­in­forced con­crete.

The up­per floors com­prise four lux­ury apart­ments, and while there is a lift and stairs to the ground floor, they will also have their own steel and tim­ber foot­bridge. The first of its kind in York­shire, it will take them from the first floor and over flood­af­fected Terry Av­enue on to dry land.

Grantside is so con­fi­dent about the de­fences that it is mov­ing its own of­fices into the ware­house

De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Peter Cal­laghan says: “We knew that the build­ing had flooded and it had changed hands a few times be­cause of that. We worked with the lo­cal author­ity and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to come up with a ro­bust de­fence scheme af­ter look­ing at flood lev­els and the fu­ture ef­fects of cli­mate change. It’s been a great team ef­fort.”

News of the flats, which have spec­tac­u­lar views, has spread world­wide, even though they have not been of­fi­cially mar­keted. Es­tate agent Toby Cock­roft, of DHP Croft, says he has had con­sid­er­able in­ter­est from Lon­don and over­seas, in­clud­ing buy­ers from Sin­ga­pore and Mi­ami look­ing for a sec­ond home.

Mean­while, lo­cals who have seen work un­der way have also been vis­it­ing the site of­fice to en­quire about the apart­ments.

“The Bond­ing Ware­house is a land­mark build­ing in one of the UK’s most pop­u­lar tourist cities. Its po­si­tion, next to Skelder­gate Bridge and op­po­site the 11th century Clif­ford’s Tower is tough to beat even in such a his­toric city as York, so we ex­pected a lot of in­ter­est,” says Grantside’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Steve Davis.

“Even so, the num­ber of en­quiries we are al­ready re­ceiv­ing is un­prece­dented. We have had more than 100 com­ing into the site of­fices from passers-by, lo­cals and in­vestors. It has been a sur­prise, and puts the mar­ket de­mand firmly back at pre­re­ces­sion lev­els.”

The two du­plex and two sin­gle-storey apart­ments will be com­pleted in May this year, and oc­cupy the top floors of the 7,000 sq ft for­mer cus­toms ware­house. The property was built in 1869 on the site of York’s house of cor­rec­tion, where vagrants and beg­gars were put to work af­ter the El­iz­a­bethan Poor Law was passed in 1601.

The build­ing was orig­i­nally used to store tax­able goods, in­clud­ing wines and spir­its, and was con­verted for leisure use in the 1970s. Over a pe­riod of three decades, it spent time as a restau­rant, night­club and com­edy club be­fore Grantside se­cured the site in 2012.

The apart­ments over­look the iron and stone-built Skelder­gate Bridge, de­signed by renowned Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tect Thomas Page in 1881. Its gothic de­tails and im­pos­ing fea­tures are shared by York’s Len­dal Bridge, 200 yards up­stream and also de­signed by Page.

Of­fice space on the lower floor has al­ready been pre-let to lo­cal businesses. The four apart­ments, which vary in size from 1,400 to over 2,200 sqft, all have high­spec built-in Sonos sound sys­tems, air source heat pumps and lux­u­ri­ous kitchens and bath­rooms,

Two of the flats have decked ter­races with walk­ways that ex­tend to 50ft look­ing out over the River Ouse.

Toby Cock­roft says: “These are truly one-off prop­er­ties and the de­vel­oper has taken a clas­sic in­dus­trial build­ing in a prom­i­nent river­side lo­ca­tion and given it a new lease of life. Even the of­fices, which in­cor­po­rate the orig­i­nal iron beams and vaulted red brick ceil­ings, are im­pres­sive but the apart­ments have been de­vel­oped to max­imise the ar­chi­tec­ture and set­ting per­fectly. It’s New York loft-style in old York.

“The huge wooden beams, large ware­house win­dows and ex­posed red brick walls in the apart­ments all make for a re­ally com­pelling blend of mod­ern de­sign with an in­dus­trial feel. They are the only river­side apart­ments in the city walls done to such a high spec­i­fi­ca­tion and large floor plan.

“The con­ve­nience of the lo­ca­tion and park­ing right in the cen­tre of the city, the at­ten­tion to de­tail and the flood de­fence plan­ning, have made these prop­er­ties the most un­usual and at­trac­tive to have come on to the mar­ket in the city for some years, if not ever.”

SAFETY FIRST: The four apart­ments in York’s land­mark river­side e Bond­ing Ware­house boast their very own foot­bridge across Terry Te Av­enue, which can be used when the River Ouse bursts its banks. The ware­house, which boasts views of the heart of the his­toric city, will have of­fices on the ground floor which has also been wa­ter­proofed with a state-of-the-art mem­brane.

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