Crescent to become Yorkshire answer to Belgravia

St Leonard's Place in York, a Grade II* listed crescent which is to be turned into luxury accommodation.
St Leonard's Place in York, a Grade II* listed crescent which is to be turned into luxury accommodation.
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It was once the pinnacle of fashionable living in York and those behind a scheme to transform a historic street back into the city’s finest residential address said yesterday the scheme was proof of the city’s growing status.

Developers behind £20m plus plans for St Leonard’s Place, a Grade II* listed crescent, say they expect the luxury homes will appeal to buyers throughout the country, together with international markets and local and regional buyers and could prove to be as prestigious an address as the Royal Crescent in Bath.

Property company Rushbond Group acquired St Leonard’s Place, together with the adjoining Grade II-listed properties on Museum Street, in 2006. The whole building was previously occupied by York Council, which relocated to new offices last year, although it was originally built in the 19th Century as elegant houses.

Matthew Jones, director of residential agency Savills, said yesterday: “There is a great opportunity to add to the growing status of York by delivering a truly high-quality conversion scheme that will appeal to a very wide audience.

“St Leonard’s Place will provide a unique and prestigious address and will be talked about in the same way as the Royal Crescent in Bath and Grosvenor Square are in London’s Belgravia.

“There is much interest in the city centre as a place yet the opportunities to create such a distinctive living environment are rare.

“The potential to promote the city to this wider audience is really significant for the region as a whole.”

Rushbond now plans to restore the building to its former glory and a planning application to convert the building into five luxurious town houses and 29 grand apartments is expected to be submitted shortly. In addition, a mix of six conversion and new build mews properties are planned for the rear of the main crescent.

Mark Finch, director of real estate at Rushbond, said yesterday former plans to transform the building into a hotel had been shelved saying: “the complexities around this particular building made it difficult to deliver a viable proposal – despite concerted efforts all round over a number of years.

“St Leonard’s Place was planned back in the early 19th Century as a development that would lead the way in domestic architecture, bringing to York the elegance and style of properties only seen in parts of London at the time. It was an ambitious plan that provided the city with a great architectural legacy.

“A key feature of the development will be the range of properties that will be available to appeal to a national and international audience as well as local and regional buyers.”

Coun James Alexander, the leader of York Council, said: “This is great news.

“The development of St Leonard’s will mean an iconic building in York being put back into use in the way it was originally intended and after some time.”