Published on Friday 2 September 2011 The Star - Sheffield Newspaper
It has taken seven years, £14 million of public money and sparked huge controversy - but the first revamped apartments at Park Hill Flats are finally going on the market.
The Star was given a sneak preview of the first of 78 apartments that go on sale next month.
Starting at the bargain price of £90,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, the modern units offer astounding views across Sheffield and light, airy rooms on the edge of the city centre.
But any buyer would be committing to live on a building site for the foreseeable future, Urban Splash development manager Mark Latham admitted.
“Yes it is still a building site, but it is a very nice building site, we hope,” Mr Latham said.
Urban Splash got involved in the regeneration of the 50-year-old grade II* Listed building in 2004 and, after several delays, have overcome huge problems to complete the northernmost wing.
But the 78 finished apartments are a tiny proportion - less than 9 per cent - of the 874 flats that make up the total £146m project. Although 26 of the flats will be offered to former Park Hill tenants as social housing, the developer needs to sell the other 52 units quickly to make the remaining project viable.
Mr Latham said: “There’s no hiding from the fact it’s a large project that will take a long time. But we are in it for the long haul.
“We have always said the hardest thing would be to get the first flats built and occupied. But we have a lot of confidence in what we have to offer.
“We have always felt Park Hill could be a great place to live again.
“It’s an amazing location. It’s set in great parkland, has great transport links, the flats are very generous by modern standards and there are fantastic views.
“It has a very strong identity, although we are well aware that’s not an identity that everybody loves. But there aren’t many places where you can own your own piece of a grade-II* listed building for £90,000.”
The first flats at Park Hill go on sale and the show homes open on October 8 and Urban Splash hopes the first occupants will move in next summer.
Mr Latham said: “If we sell out that will give us confidence to move to the next phase. The rate we proceed from there depends on the rate we sell at.”
Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “When Park Hill was originally built there was a belief that architecture improved people’s lives - and it still can. It is an ambitious project that we believe in wholeheartedly.”