Developer reveals further details about plan to create multi-million pound apartments at former council offices

Artist's impression of the completed development. Image: Adam Thorpe Group (s).
Artist's impression of the completed development. Image: Adam Thorpe Group (s).

The man behind the proposed development of the former council offices at Crescent Gardens in Harrogate into luxury apartments has revealed more details about his plans, and says there will be nothing like it outside Mayfair.

Council staff have now moved out to their new base in Knapping Mount and the building stands empty.

Property developer Adam Thorpe was the chosen bidder by the council for the building earlier this year, and says he intends to complete on the property, subject to planning permission which hasn’t yet been approved, by the middle of next year.

He intends to transform the building into between 10 to 14 apartments, including two penthouses, with prices for the smallest two-bedroom apartment starting at £2.5m and the most expensive four-bedroom priced at more than £10m each. He says two of those have already been reserved and the overall development will cost £75m.

He estimates it will be finished in 2020.

In an interview with the Advertiser on Friday, Adam Thorpe said: “I am creating something which doesn’t exist outside London - there will be nothing like it outside Mayfair. It will be completely different to anything else, I am very proud of what we are creating here.”

He thinks the owners of the apartments will probably already be Yorkshire based, perhaps with multiple homes in the UK and abroad, but wanting a base in Harrogate as well.

For their price, he says they will get luxury living in an apartment designed exactly to their taste, a private spa/wellness centre (gym, treatment room, snow chamber, hydrotherapy), 43 members of staff on site (including a doorman), 24/7 room service, basement garages (car houses) each with two to eight spaces per apartment, and as a finishing touch, the use of the house car to wherever they want to go - a Bentley Mulsanne... (there will be a Tesla too).

Every residence will have its own individual private lift, and its own outdoor space, and its own front door.

Adam Thorpe, 37, is familiar with Harrogate and with high end restoration. Over the past 15 years he says he has restored around 220 ‘parkland villas’ in the town, on streets like The Oval and Park Avenue.

Buying the old council offices though is his biggest project to date.

He said:”I started high end restoration at a time of recession. I looked at service and at lifestyle - it’s not just somewhere to live, we look at designing every detail that our clients want.

“This is not a speculative project - we haven’t done anything speculatively for 10 years. It’s privately financed (based on the last 10 years of business). There are no company borrowings.”

On Tuesday Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC received notice from Companies House saying it will be struck off within two months unless it files overdue company accounts.

Adam Thorpe said yesterday: “The chartered accountant is doing them now, they will be done this week. They were just late being done, and not submitted on time - there was no reason for that, just an administration oversight.”

He said the company purchasing the former council offices was ATP (Crescent Gardens) Ltd, not Adam Thorpe Property Group PLC and it had no effect on the purchase.

In his earlier interview, Adam Thorpe said he expects all the apartments will have been reserved by the end of March next year.

Key to the success of the scheme for him is the continued public use of parts of the building. Inside, in the former first floor council chamber and in the ground floor main reception (‘to include retail outlets for Louis Vuitton and Rolex’) will be space for

art – modern, young, appealing to families – ‘a mini V&A’.

Outside, in Crescent Gardens, he intends to revamp the public space, with more planting, a fountain, low railings around the garden to evoke the Victorian era (and make the area safe for children), hygienic modern public toilets and a restored bandstand in use on a regular basis for family events.

The public road outside Crescent Gardens will controversially be sold to him as part of the deal, and subject to permission from North Yorkshire County Council, he will close it off to traffic.

It was a deal breaker for him – so he can get rid of parked cars and traffic flowing past the front of the building, as well as controversial with the public for the loss of the thoroughfare and the on-street parking.

The development also plans for a new restaurant on two levels to be built at the Swan Road end, a glass-domed Winter Gardens/Palm Court style building.

The whole Crescent Gardens area is what Adam Thorpe describes as the Spa Quarter Redefined, and creating a vibrancy is very important to his plan.

“This should be somewhere people come. People should be enjoying the park, coming to look at the art exhibitions...

“If the council had just agreed to put 42 flats here (one of the earlier plans) this area would just go private and die. We are doing our bit to provide vibrancy and keep it alive.”

This is a massively ambitious development with what The Sunday Times called at the weekend, some ‘astonishing prices’.

The town will be watching with interest as the future unfolds for its former civic building.