NEW offices have been sold in the latest deal highlighting the continuing appetite for city centre workspace in York despite the pandemic.

Standard Life Trustees has bought a commercial unit at The Old Fire Station from York-based property development and investment company Helmsley Group and its joint partner on the scheme, London Ebor.

Reed in Partnership has signed a lease on behalf of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for the space in the refurbished fire station, which had a guide price of £460,000 and will operate as a driving theory test centre.

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Last year, Standard Life Trustees acquired the adjoining ground and mezzanine floors of the Grade A offices, off a guide price of £1.1m on a 999-year lease. This suite is occupied by patent and trademark attorneys, Secerna.

Helmsley Group, which is based at Monk’s Cross, helps high net-worth clients to develop wealth through property, from luxury townhouses in historic buildings to office lets, and residential schemes aimed at first-time buyers. 

The property investment specialist which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020 provides syndicated and development investment opportunities for individuals, pension funds and businesses. 

Max Reeves, development director, said: “This latest commercial transaction at The Old Fire Station is further evidence that, despite the ongoing uncertainty brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our working lives, investment and occupational appetite for quality office space continues unabated.

“We have been delighted with the positive impact The Old Fire Station has made to the central York property market and we look forward to 2022 with ongoing confidence.”

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As well as providing much-needed office space in central York, The Old Fire Station scheme has raised the bar for residential standards, incorporating a total of 14 apartments and townhouses within the setting of the historic former fire station.

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Inside the luxury new homes in York's old fire station when they first opened.

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

Matthew Tootell, at Bowcliffe, acted for the landlord on the letting to Reed In Partnership

He 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, who acted for the purchaser, 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.”

Jonathan Wade, of Wade Property Consultants, acted for Helmsley and London Ebor on the sale of the unit.

The unit's guide price of £460,000 represented a net initial yield of 6.24 per cent.

Helmsley Group is very York-focused, and has been involved in a wide range of other local developments including Westgate - a 114-apartment scheme on the River Ouse; Lendal Tower; Dixons Yard, Walmgate - a scheme of 50 apartments overlooking the River Foss;  The Probate Office;  Merchant Exchange and The Walk as well as many others.