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.
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.