Renovation programme is adjusted for post virus era

An office site in Leeds city centre, which is currently undergoing major renovation, is making further modifications to provide a more hygiene-conscious environment in a post-Covid world.

Regional REIT embarked upon a £2m refurbishment and rebranding of The Coach Works at 21 The Calls, Leeds.

However, following the virus outbreak mid-programme, the company decided to invest heavily in measures that will make the building more resilient for the new working environment.

Formerly known as Chancellor Court, The Coach Works is made up of two buildings totalling 41,479 sq ft.

It is in part of Leeds now recognised as the creative district, and is surrounded by independent shops, bars and diverse food outlets.

The ongoing refurbishment is on track to deliver new high-specification space over four floors, bringing together exposed features and modern design with raised-access floors, LED lighting, air conditioning and a striking new entrance/reception.

Ben Mitchell, senior asset manager at London & Scottish Property Investment Management, the asset manager for Regional REIT, said: “At the start of the pandemic many companies adopted a work-from-home mode.

“But the creative industries in particular quickly realised that the home environment was not be as productive as anticipated.

“Apart from the isolation that comes from social distancing, home working does not provide the human connection and engagement that many creative communities thrive on.

“As responsible developers we must instigate the changes necessary to make our creative workplaces as safe and protected as possible. The pandemic led us to consider the more discreet adaptations that are fundamental to the welfare of occupiers.

“In collaboration with our consultants, including KPP Architects, BNP Paribas Real Estate, TB&A and the main contractor JP Wild, we have reacted with a number of design modifications.”

These include installation of Superloos which are self-contained cubicles with a toilet, vanity unit and hand-drying facilities.

The Unisex design for sole occupancy reduces the Covid-19 risk and there are also touchless taps, soap dispensers and flushing equipment.

Ventilation has been adapted with improved fresh air flow and extraction, and fully renovated, openable windows, reversing a historic trend of sealed-in office spaces.

External fresh air is pre-heated to maintain ambient temperatures. The Coach Works now provides occupants with 20% more fresh air than conventional offices.

The building is owned by Regional REIT and is part of its UK property portfolio, which is worth more than £700m.

Leeds-based creative agency Society Studios created The Coach Works brand as a gesture to the heritage of the site. It used to be the coach works for Wallace and Arnold, one of the UK’s largest motor coach holiday tour operators.

Suites from 3,250 sq ft up to 10,000 sq ft are currently available to let at The Coach Works.  Knight Frank and Cushman & Wakefield are marketing the scheme.

The renovation programme is expected to be completed in early December 2020.