A DERELICT building welcoming train travellers to Chester is having a £4.37m overhaul to transform it into affordable apartments.
The listed former YMCA building and post office, on Station Road, has lain formant for a decade but regional housing association Plus Dane Group has stepped in to demolish its interior and create 34 homes including nine one-bedroom and 25 two-bedroom apartments.
Facing Chester’s recently refurbished railway station and at the heart of a conservation area within the city, residents will enjoy an internal garden, with apartments built around a central atrium.
The building's 100-year-old façade – its front and sides – will be preserved but the rest of the building is due to be demolished within two weeks.
Claire Griffiths, Plus Dane's managing director of regeneration and commercial development, said they will start advertising the homes before the end of the year and the units will be completed from next Spring.
She added: “We have done a number of schemes with Watkin Jones and they've been trying to get the building to work for a while.”
All of the homes will be available to customers through the government’s Rent-to-HomeBuy initiative, enabling customers to rent now and buy later – saving for a deposit while paying a below market rent.
Ms Griffiths added: “That part of town is still seen as a bit risky. This made it work.
“It's a high priority for the council.
“We're very confident demand will be really high. It's a great building and a great location.
“We are delighted to be doing a development in Chester. We think it's perfect.”
Plus Dane Group is investing £3.5m in this project and secured an additional £870,000 funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to support the scheme.