20th May 2005
Having developed 294 apartments and townhouses in Worcester’s cathedral city over the past three years, acclaimed regional developer Neil Grinnall Homes is now spreading the net wider in order to replicate their successes on a national stage.
Neil Grinnall Homes introduced city living to Worcester in 2002 in a manner that astounded the regional property marketplace. By 5am on the launch day for Diglis Court - a scheme of 22 luxury apartments and townhouses fronting Diglis canal basin – a queue of local investors had already built up. By midday, a staggering 19 out of the 22 new homes had been reserved.
For the developer’s second phase of canalside regeneration at neighbouring Bath Road, the vast majority of the 41 townhouses and apartments were sold off-plan, with the ceiling value for apartments in the city being shattered. Now virtually built complete, the scheme will soon become home to cricketers and rugby players from Worcester’s top flight clubs as well as savvy young professionals who have paid a premium to enjoy a prime view of the historic cathedral. Only nine homes are still available for sale at Bath Road priced from £110,000.
The success continued as Neil Grinnall Homes’ next venture saw the company acquire one of the most prominent buildings in Worcester. The Grade II listed former Kays Catalogue headquarters, which once housed over 500 workers, is now being converted into 24 lavish, loft style apartments and freehold office suites. Priced from £195,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, the iconic development has proved very popular with Worcester’s upwardly mobile bachelors. Over 50 per cent of the scheme has been sold off-plan to date.
Behind the façade of the Kay’s building is ‘K2’ a new development of nine large townhouses and 16 two-bedroom apartments. Priced from £175,000 for the apartments and from £340,000 for the three-bedroom townhouses, two showhomes have just been unveiled at the scheme.
Setting their sites on larger development schemes, in 2003 Neil Grinnall Homes acquired Albion Mill from Worcester Royal Porcelain, situated opposite the Bath Road apartments, whilst in 2004 a strategic site on Newport Street fronting the banks of the River Severn was bought. With 78 and 106 apartments respectively, both schemes are set to continue the impressive momentum of the now established city living phenomenon.
Neil Grinnall commented: “We have injected over £150 million into Worcester city centre since 2002, which I am very proud to say has had a significant upward effect on local property prices and encouraged further regeneration to take place in the historic city core.
“At present we have two further schemes along the Diglis canal basin working their way through the planning process and we hope to announce the acquisition of a handful of new city centre projects before the end of the year. Meanwhile, we are currently nearing completion on our schemes at Bath Road, K1 and K2, with a total of 35 new homes remaining available for sale.
“So, whilst striving to maintain our profile and dominance in Worcester, the success we have enjoyed to date here has opened doors for us on a national level. We are currently in the process of acquiring sites elsewhere in the Midlands and the Black Country as well as Derby, Yorkshire, Aylesbury and Oxford.”
Whilst Neil Grinnall Homes has notched up an impressive six developments in central Worcester so far, the company is not perceived to be city living centric due to its flagship project in Droitwich Spa. The dilapidated Hadzor Hall and its 42 acres of mature parkland, which had been used as offices and a school since it ceased being a family residence in the 1930’s, was acquired by the company in 2001.
Seeking approval from the ODPM to create just over 100 charming new homes in the place of a number of 1970’s commercial buildings that were scattered in the grounds of the outstanding 18th Century mansion, the developer had the foresight, persistence and insight to sensitively inject new life into what is now undoubtedly Droitwich Spa’s most sought after new community.
Following the completion of the new homes and converted Stables block at Hadzor Hall early this year, Neil Grinnall appointed Knight Frank to undertake the sale of what has been labelled as Worcestershire’s finest mansion house. Steeped in history and offering an extraordinary 17,500 sq ft of living, entertaining, staff and recreational accommodation, the Hall is being sold as purposely restored project for half its projected end value of £3million.
Neil Grinnall said: “Having acquired Hadzor Hall in a sorry state of dereliction three years ago, we have painstakingly restored the fabric of the building, emphasising its wealth of original features, whilst accommodating modern lifestyle preferences for multi-media wiring such as Bang & Olufsen technology. We have also obtained planning permission to create a 60 ft long indoor swimming pool and spa within the Hall, whilst also creating an integral garage at the rear of the house for four large cars."
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