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New vision unveiled for Wolverhampton's Telecom House

By Simon Penfold | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

The new owners of Wolverhampton's Telecom House have unveiled their vision to turn the office block into campus-style homes to rent.

Telecom House is to be transformed into nearly 300 micro apartments

Inspired aims to turn the six-storey building into nearly 300 studio flats in what is called a 'co-living scheme' with shared facilities such as a working lounge and coffee bar.

Construction is expected to get underway later this year and is due to be completed by 2020.

At one time more than 700 BT staff worked at the Church Street building, but the company moved out last year and put it up for sale. Completed in 1984 it was substantially refurbished around the turn of the century.

The kind of micro-apartment Inspired aims to create at Telecom House

Now it is set for a major transformation by a developer of 'micro-flats' to create university campus style homes for professional people on average incomes.

It was revealed this week that Inspired Asset Management, the parent company of micro living specialist Inspired Homes, has completed the purchase of Telecom House from Telereal Trillium for just over £3 million.

Inspired is currently awaiting approval to convert the six-storey office building, vacated by BT last year, into a 'co-living' scheme comprising 294 self-contained studios.

Co-living is essentially campus-style, purpose-built student accommodation but for rent to non-students.

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New owner Inspired plans to create a residents' lounge as part of new facilities at Telecom House

Although co-living has proven popular with young professionals, it is for all age groups, including senior and assisted living. The concept emerged as a solution for providing high-quality, affordable private-rented accommodation just two years ago when The Collective launched its 550 room Old Oak co-living scheme in Harlesden.

Launching in 2020, the co-living studios are expected to fetch between £575 and £625 per calendar month, inclusive of all bills including Wi-Fi and fortnightly cleaning.

Ranging in size from 16 sqm to 26 sqm, residents will have their own private, fully-furnished living/ sleeping space with kitchenette and en-suite. The rooms could include transforming furniture such as a wall-mounted pull down sofa bed to maximise space.

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Residents will also benefit from campus-style shared social spaces, likely to include a flexibly designed co-working lounge/ event space and coffee bar, as well as communal services such as a concierge, drop-off dry cleaning, bike hire and car club. Bike storage and some private car parking will also be available.

Overlooking the Penn Road roundabout on the city centre ring road, the development sits walking distance from the railway station.

Inspired currently has more than 1,000 micro-apartments either completed or under construction.

Inspired’s founder, Martin Skinner, has been a vocal advocate of micro living appearing, making the case for space-efficient, affordable private homes. He also helped the British Property Federation to come up with industry-recognised definitions for micro-living, which covers compact living (self-contained smaller homes), shared living (house/ flat shares) and co-living (managed purpose-built developments with shared amenity space).

Mr Skinner is CEO of Inspired Asset Management and Inspired Homes. He said: “With so much investment planned for Wolverhampton and geographically being in the centre of the country, it is becoming an increasingly attractive location for businesses and a draw for young professionals working in a variety of different sectors. The city’s growth is supported by a proactive council and planning team, who always respond to us swiftly and approved our application.”

“Our proposals will create high quality, affordable private homes in the city centre, where residents will have their own private space as well as shared social spaces where they can get to know their neighbours and experience music and other social events.”

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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