Two local companies are teaming up to convert redundant office space into prime residential accommodation in the heart of St Peter Port.
PF+A and the Little Big Group are working together to convert 19,000 sq ft of former office space in the heart of St Peter Port into state-of-the-art apartments, sympathetically designed for contemporary living.
The offices were formerly occupied by law firm Mourants and situated on Le Marchant Street, just off Smith Street.
Group Chairman Ian Walker commented: “Guernsey is in a housing crisis and the world is in an environmental crisis. While we must build more housing, this cannot be to the detriment of our natural environment. If Guernsey is to continue its place in our hearts as an oasis of lush fields and trees, we must do better to tackle challenging developments.”
The offices were formally occupied by the Guernsey Press and housed printing machinery, and the old service elevator that used to take rolls of paper up to the presses still exists.
PF+A director Alex Whitmore added: “The historic use of the site means that we’re working with a very well-built structure. Half of the structure is reinforced concrete designed to support the old presses and paper rolls, and the other half incorporates the Georgian façade fronting Smith Street so has some lovely features and character that will be retained”
‘Change with no change’ – The notion that new housing is created with very little or no visual change, utilizing existing vacant buildings, is a rewarding one.
The partnership hopes that others will follow by reviewing more brownfield opportunities. Mr Walker continued: “Guernsey has a unique charm that is unrivalled in the Channel Islands. As an island we should be as sympathetic to the environment as possible, prioritizing brownfield sites and existing assets before looking to ‘softer’ targets. With the amount of brownfield sites across the island we could realistically solve our housing crisis and the island would look identical to how it does now.”
Both companies formed their association through a mutual passion for sparking new life into these types of brown-field developments. The project for 11 apartments has received planning approval and has submitting drawings to building control, with work projected to begin within the next 12 months.