Xsite is the architect and DPP the planner. Credit: via Four Walls

Updated Bigg Market office-to-resi plans lodged

Newcastle-based asset management firm Monument Real Estate is seeking detailed consent to redevelop and extend 2 Cathedral Square in a 139-strong serviced apartment project.

The application seeks consent for extensive exterior and interior enhancements including a host of sustainability improvements.

Designed by Newcastle studio Xsite Architecture, the plans include the addition of an extra three floors to the current structure.

If approved, the new investment will help transform the office building which was constructed on the site of the former town hall in the mid-1970s.

Fifty years on, the largely vacant 2 Cathedral Square is now in need of a significant revamp to deliver a more energy efficient and fit-for-purpose building to meet the needs of modern city centre living, the applicant said.

Xsite’s design would see the existing structural frame re-used, with a new cladding system being introduced, offering superior insulation levels.

The submission is expected to be considered by Newcastle City Council in the first quarter of 2024 and if it gets the green light, redevelopment work will follow with the first apartments potentially available in 2025.

Director and founder of Monument Tom Wooldridge said: “Our latest plans for 2 Cathedral Square further support the significant investment that has been made to rejuvenate this historic part of Newcastle.

“There is a strong desire to invest in the building to raise it to a much higher standard of residential accommodation than the existing property would be able to offer.”

The application seeks to extend on an existing consent with improvements to the building’s exterior.

The 139-apartment scheme, as viewed from the Bigg Market. Credit: via Four Walls

Helen Marks, director at planning consultancy DPP, said: “The planning consent secured in 2022 does not enable Monument to enhance the exterior of the property.

“The current building is outdated, and the fresh proposals will allow them to bring forward a fantastic redevelopment project, which is far more appropriate for this culturally rich and historic part of central Newcastle.”

Xsite Architecture’s head of practice, Tim Bailey, added: “A building as significant as 2 Cathedral Square, standing in such a central location, should ideally have more stature than it currently has. Our designs seek to elevate its prominence and deliver a high standard of city centre living to meet 21st century needs.”

Monument bought the 100,000 sq ft 1 & 2 Cathedral Square block in 2021 for £8m. The Secretary of State renewed its lease on the 37,000 sq ft of office space at No. 1 last year, committing until 2028.

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