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Turning a Wreck Into a Very Sweet Deal

Marc Turnier of Arcvelop talks with Editor Richard Bowser

Adding value is the name of the game for property developers, through taking a bare piece of land to build new units from the ground up, or alternatively adapting and converting existing buildings into a higher value use.

In the last ten years the government gradually loosened up planning regulations to allow property developers more scope through the mechanism of ‘permitted development rights’ with a ‘prior approval’ procedure to enable the creation of some 80,000 additional residential units from outdated commercial buildings. The process has attracted criticism in some quarters, but many high quality projects have been completed, which have breathed new life into outdated and unloved buildings, whilst enhancing the immediate locations where they are situated.

However, in many cases older buildings can present both construction and design challenges to adapt them for their ‘new lease of life’, which means that full planning permission is required. Older buildings are often situated in historic town centres, sometimes within conservation areas and where the surrounding space can be tight with narrow streets. This of course can present additional challenges for developers and their construction teams.

One such scheme, now completed and fully occupied, is in Ramsgate, Kent and the efforts made by a team of four individuals under their Arcvelop brand were acknowledged a few months ago by the judges at the Property Investors Awards, resulting in the accolade of Property Deal of the Year.

I met with Marc Turnier of Arcvelop who explained to me what they had created in Ramsgate and the difficulties that they had to overcome to achieve their objectives with the Hibernia Street scheme.

“The development at Hibernia Street,” said Marc, “was a commercial to residential conversion in Ramsgate, Kent. The building is located within a conservation area and was physically limited by its proximity to neighbouring properties and a lack of parking, which created some interesting challenges to navigate. The existing building was an unused factory, which was formerly used to manufacture sweets and as such we have named it The Rock Factory. 

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