A revamped Sheffield office block that has stood empty for five years – despite a multi-million pound makeover and possibly the cheapest rent in the North – finally has a tenant.
Housing association Places for People has taken part of the top floor of Saville House, on Savile Street, near the Wicker Arches.
Owners Urban Properties are placing a concierge on site declaring the nine-storey 150,000sq ft building “open and ready for business”.
Peter Whiteley, partner at the Sheffield office of Knight Frank, said: “This first letting has taken some time, largely due to the economic downturn of recent years, but this deal hopefully signals the return to better times, it’s certainly nice to have the lights on.
“With a surge in market buoyancy, we expect to see a lot more interest.”
There had been two viewings for the remainder of the top floor in the last two weeks, he added. The other eight floors are bare concrete and would need fitting out.
Built in the 1960s, Saville House was the headquarters of a garage operator. It stood empty and derelict for years before an ambitious refurbishment completed at the end of 2009 which included steel panels on the entire building. It also has a 237-space car park and is close to the ring road.
But a year later, after failing to attract tenants, the owners slashed the rent from £14.50 per sq ft to just £8.50 creating one of the lowest priced Grade ‘A’ offices in the North.
The aim, Knight Frank said then, was to appeal to a much wider market.
At the time, Tim Bottrill said: “Traditionally it might have been taken by a government department, but that’s not happened and the large corporate occupiers have pulled in their horns.”
The building has also had ‘support and funding’ from Creative Sheffield – the council’s business department – Objective One European infrastructure funding, Renaissance South Yorkshire and the European Regional Development Fund.
Meanwhile, a Tesco superstore was built a on the other side of the road.
Now, it is hoped the first letting is a sign that the market has changed.
Luke Dawson, group corporate estates surveyor at Places for People, said: “We are delighted to have moved our Sheffield business to Saville House. The building has fully satisfied our requirement and has provided our staff with a great environment to deliver our services.”
Denis Ziman, director at developer Urban Properties, said: “It is fitting that Saville House, having played a major role in the regeneration of Sheffield’s Wicker area, will now house a company concerned with property regeneration and development.”