Work has started on a £35m transformation of Sheffield’s Telephone House to create 347 apartments - and 60 per cent have been sold already.
The landmark 15-storey building on Wellington Street, which overlooks Charter Square, will become mostly one-room studios costing £82,000 or more, offering a “four-star hotel experience”.
The huge refurbishment will not be complete until August next year, but nearly two thirds have alread been sold ‘off-plan’ according to owners, Vita Student.
Buying apartments before they are built - from the plans - was a feature of the building boom in Sheffield in the noughties - until the crash of 2008.
Giles Beswick, Vita director, said it was aimed at postgraduates and young professionals connected to the city’s two universities.
There was a huge undersupply of purpose-built student accommodation in Sheffield, he added, it housed only 25 per cent of the 60,000 students.
He added: “It is a high-spec residential concept. The properties will be bought by investors who will benefit from rental income. This will be our eighth scheme so we know the concept works.”
They also had planning permission to build an extra luxury penthouse floor on the roof, he added.
Vita will act as agent collecting rent from tenants.
The 42-year-old building was sold after the last remaining BT staff moved out last year.
Demolition and strip-out work has started after hoists were fitted to the outside of the building. Construction work is set to start this month.
New windows will be fitted and the exterior given a clean, although its general appearance will not change, Mr Beswick added.
The building is expected to be ready in time for the start of the 2015 academic term.