Building back to former glory

The completed YMCA building.
The completed YMCA building.

One of Lancaster’s landmark buildings which had been derelict for more than a decade has been restored to its former glory.

The former YMCA building in China Street has been saved from collapse in a £1million project by Whittington-based builders Fred Hall & Son.

In the space of nine months they have transformed the building into luxury student accommodation.

“When we took on this place it had been full of junk and pigeons for 10 years.

“There’s a definite pride in having made this building habitable again, particularly as it is being used by young people which was exactly the reason why the main building was erected in 1908,” said managing director Nick Hall.

The former YMCA and an adjoining building in the city centre has been turned into nine apartments, with a mix of three/four or five bedrooms and all with two bathrooms, kitchen/lounge area and recycling and communal areas.

Many of the original beams have been restored and the staircase and sash windows replaced to make the most of the views over the city.

There are also modern touches with the front of the building clad in zinc.

“We knew it was going to be a large job but the level of dry rot was worse than we expected.

“I think if it had been left for another few years I do not think it would have still been standing, the roof was about to collapse,” said Nick.

The conversion has impressed Lancaster City Council’s senior conservation officer Stephen Gardner.

He said: “I had been very concerned for some time about these buildings which were in poor condition; there was severe dry rot problems.

“The refurbishment of both these buildings has improved the appearance of China Street and whilst they are not listed buildings they make a positive contribution to the Lancaster Conservation Area.”