Buyer snaps up more office space in former fire station

Property development and investment company, Helmsley Group, has sold off another part of its Old Fire Station development in York.

Standard Life Trustees, which acquired the ground and mezzanine floors of the office element of the mixed-use development last year, has bought the adjoining commercial unit from Helmsley and its joint venture partner on the scheme, London Ebor.

The unit had a guide price of £460,000, which represented a net initial yield of 6.24%.

Reed In Partnership has signed a lease on behalf of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), with the unit operating as a driving theory test centre.

Matthew Tootell at Bowcliffe acted for the landlord on the letting to Reed In Partnership and Richard Dunn of Sanderson Weatherall acted for the purchaser. Jonathan Wade of Wade Property Consultants acted for Helmsley and London Ebor on the sale of the unit.

Helmsley and London Ebor initially sold two floors of grade A office space to Standard Life Trustees off a guide price of £1.1m on a 999-year lease last year. This suite is occupied by patent and trademark attorneys, Secerna.

Max Reeves, development director at York-based Helmsley Group, said: “This latest commercial transaction at The Old Fire Station is further evidence that, despite the ongoing uncertainty brought by the pandemic and its impact on our working lives, investment and occupational appetite for quality office space continues unabated.”

As well as providing office space in central York, The Old Fire Station scheme incorporates 14 apartments and townhouses.

The building dates back to 1856 when it was built as Trinity Chapel, before its conversion to a fire station in 1938.

Matthew Tootell, of Bowcliffe, said: “Reed in Partnership’s continued commitment to the York market on behalf of public and government sector occupiers is positive news for the city and demonstrates the strength of The Old Fire Station’s offer and location.”

“The accommodation offered a perfect solution for the DVSA, providing high quality accommodation with easy access to the city centre.”

Richard Dunn, partner at Sanderson Weatherall, added: “The Old Fire Station continues to provide sound investment opportunities for our client, Standard Life.

“Despite the likelihood of hybrid working continuing, the dynamics of the York office market remain robust, with demand high.”