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Ambitious £17million plans for Fenwick revamp get the go-ahead

Published on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Artist's impression of The Gresham development

A MAJOR redevelopment of Leicester’s historic former Fenwick building has been given its final go-ahead, with the complete £17million investment package now in place.

The iconic 19th century four-storey building on the corner of Market Street was bought in 2017 by developer Aimrok Holdings. Its ambitious plans for the building will see it converted into a 121-bedroom aparthotel, including a lobby bar, restaurant and gym.

The development will also feature four new ground-floor and basement commercial units totalling nearly 11,000sqft, along with almost 12,000sqft of flexible business workspace under a newly signed lease with Leicester City Council.

Aimrok Holdings will use the building’s original name ‘The Gresham’ for the new development, in a nod to the architectural heritage of this local landmark.

The development will be part-funded by the city council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), with the majority of the £17million costs coming from a mixture of development finance and private investment.

Leicester City Council is investing £450,000 to fund the fit-out and set-up costs for the new flexible workspace with capital set aside for the Leicester Economic Action Plan.

The LLEP has agreed an investment loan of up to £4million from the Growing Places Fund, a Government-funded scheme that supports key infrastructure projects designed to unlock wider economic growth and create jobs.

Andrew Crainey, managing director of Aimrok Holdings, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to finalise the funding for this project in what is a very challenging time for everyone. This is testament to the belief in the recovery and long term view our partners have for Leicester. Our attention continues to be the redevelopment of the site to provide a strong product for the city.

“Knowing that the country as a whole will take time to bounce back from the effects of Coronavirus,  we will be incentivising potential future partnerships for the occupancy of the four available commercial units to assist in bringing benefits to other businesses in this area as we all attempt to push through into a recovery period.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is great news for the city. The substantial private investment in this important scheme is a huge vote of confidence in Leicester. The Fenwick building is an important local landmark and its redevelopment will bring huge benefits to other businesses in this part of the city centre.

“Our own plans to create new flexible business workspace as part of this redevelopment will build on the success of our workspaces at LCB Depot and Dock and provide an alternative and attractive option for new or small businesses and freelancers looking for a city centre base.

“The Gresham will be just the latest chapter in the ongoing revitalisation of this part of the city centre.”

Kevin Harris, chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) board, said: “With the make-up of our high streets evolving, it is important that we plan new uses for some of our most cherished buildings. This development at the old Fenwick’s store will see one of Leicester’s architectural gems preserved and restored to public use, with high-quality apartments in a prime city centre location.

“The site will also provide more much-needed office space in the city, with businesses, start-ups and freelancers able to make use of flexible facilities. This modern approach to working life is sure to be popular with the dynamic businesses that increasingly see Leicester and Leicestershire as a highly attractive place to work.”

Preliminary construction work is already underway at the former Fenwick building. The redevelopment is expected to take around 18 months to complete and it is hoped The Gresham will be opened and welcoming its first occupiers by late 2021.

All work is being carried out in accordance with current Government advice to the construction industry, and the site is being operated under the strict guidelines and procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council and Public Health England.

For initial enquiries or to express an interest in the council-run flexible business workspace contact, please contact luke.pulford@leicester.gov.uk

For enquiries about the commercial and retail space being offered by Aimrok Holdings please contact enquiries@thegresham.co.uk