Transformation of empty offices into luxury flats well under way

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. - Credit: Laragh/Archant

Some of the first luxury flats being converted from a former office block in Ely have been sold and the new owners are expected to move in later this year. 

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.  

The new development has been renamed The Old Tannery.


Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. - Credit: Laragh

One of those offered for sale –a three-bedroom ground floor apartment is at the higher price range and is described as “state-of-the-art, beautifully designed with spacious kitchen, living and dining areas”. 

Four of the 25 flats have been earmarked for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s £100k home scheme.  

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. - Credit: Laragh

Mayor James Palmer won agreement from his Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) to loan Laragh Homes £4.5m to turn the office block into flats. 

The deal, approved by the CAPCA board, will provide some affordable homes for Ely and a potential share of the profits from the re-development. 

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The deal was spearheaded by Simon Somerville-Large, managing director and founder of Laragh Homes whose other projects include the Community Land Trust developments at Stretham and Wilburton.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. - Credit: Laragh


Under the agreed deal Laragh Homes bought Alexander House in Forehill to deliver 25 new homes to include four affordable homes as part of the conversion of the former office block where tenants once included Lucy Frazer MP and the Ely Standard. 

CAPCA says that by providing the loan it will enable four of the units to become affordable flats without any grant being required. 

The loan is being secured against a charge on the land on which the property sits and in addition CAPCA will share 50 per cent of any profit from the scheme up to a maximum total profit sum of £500,000. 

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. - Credit: Laragh

In the event of any profit in excess of £500,000, CAPCA will receive 40 per cent of any additional profit achieved. 

The deal has been criticised by Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Labour-controlled Cambridge City Council. 

He said doing up a dilapidated 'lemon' will only end up as a slightly better looking lemon. 

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill.

Cheffins is marketing the flats at prices ranging from £275,000 to £325,000 at Alexander House at the bottom of Forehill. The transformed development is now The Old Tannery - Credit: Archant

"Alexander House is smaller than the worst ones but it's a 1970s concrete office not designed for housing," he said. 

"The 'affordable' housing loan to Laragh is an abuse of CAPCA's affordable housing monies." 

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