Upmarket apartments are to be created on upper floors in the Packhorse Centre and above the former Shaw & Hallas shoe shop.
As part of the re-development of the 50-year-old Huddersfield shopping centre, new owner Zahid Iqbal is converting some of the unused space to residential.
A two-bedroomed and a one-bedroomed apartment are being created on the upper floors with views over Market Place.
One of them is almost 1,000 sq ft and Mr Iqbal said: “We tend to create big apartments. And before anyone asks, they are not student flats!”
As work continues on the retail units at the Packhorse Centre, Mr Iqbal has also turned his attention to the Shaw & Hallas premises in Market Walk, which became empty at the end of September when the 157-year-old shop shut its doors for the last time.
The shop will be turned back into two separate retail units while upstairs will become apartments. In all there will be two two-bed apartments and three one-bed apartments.
A planning application for change of use will be submitted to Kirklees Council in the next two or three weeks but some strip-out work has already started.
Mr Iqbal said the buildings were originally houses and many original features remained such as an ornate fireplace, sash windows and leaded windows.
“All the old features will be retained,” he said, pointing out a curved wooden windowsill.
Outside Mr Iqbal said he wanted to give Market Walk a feel of The Shambles in York and a courtyard would be created at the side of Shaw & Hallas where The Barbers Shop is.
Mr Iqbal, a director of Z&F Properties Ltd, bought the Packhorse Centre in June this year and inside new shopfronts are being installed. There has been a slight delay due to the difficulty of getting hold of specialist glass from the manufacturers.
“When we purchased the centre there were 24 units vacant, now we are down to just 13 – which we think is really good in three-and-a-half months,” said Mr Iqbal.
All the outside units are taken and the former Patisserie Valerie store is to become a Gloria Jean’s coffee house, a brand from Australia.
Electric doors will be installed in all entrances to stop the “wind tunnel effect”, skylights now let in natural light and there is new lighting and a sunburst feature made up of fluorescent tubes which change colour, the inspiration for which came from an art gallery in Los Angeles.
The upper floor will be a food court and all the units are let. It’s likely to open early next year.
A new lift is on order from Germany and the steel shaft is about to be designed. The lift and shaft combined could cost around £70,000 – and that’s a good deal. Some quotes came in at £120,000.
“We make sure we get value for money,” said Mr Iqbal.