Plans to open a restaurant in York’s old fire station have been abandoned, and it will instead become the home for an expanding local company.
The Helmsley Group, which is developing the site, says a business currently based at York Science Park has been looking for modern city-centre office space, and said the site on Clifford Street was ideal for them.
That’s a turnaround on the original design statement, which said that “modern, efficient and flexible restaurant floorspace will retain an active character to the lower levels on Clifford Street addressing the need for active frontages and a strong sense of place at street level, whilst encouraging local employment opportunities and economic regeneration”.
The developer said there had been interest from potential restaurant operators – but the rapid downturn in the mid-range restaurant market, reflected in several chain closures, had been a consideration.
Max Reeves, of the Helmsley Group, told YorkMix that he expected the lease for the undisclosed office occupants to be confirmed in the next week or so, and said the apartments on the upper floors were also close to completion.
The development consists of seven apartments and seven town houses, as well as the commercial space.
Mr Reeves said:
It has taken a little longer than we would have liked, but we can’t rush it.
The apartments will be completed next week and the houses about five weeks after that. An office operator will now take two thirds of the ground floor and we will look at a little café beside that.
There’s very little office space in York city centre and there is a demand for it.
He said the company coming in “is expanding and doing a high-end fit out so they can compete with firms down in London”.
The group has invested £14.5 million in the project. Firefighters have relocated at their purpose-built Kent Street fire station.