The appearance of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter could get a massive boost from plans to give a facelift to one of its landmark buildings.
Newspaper House in Derngate has been sold to a development company which plans to convert it into luxury apartments.
The building is opposite Derngate Theatre has been home to the Herald & Post newspaper, Derngate Gym and Looking Glass Theatre.
The sale has been negotiated by Nicholas Roberts of Drake Commercial and the new owners will be Derngate Lofts Ltd. who have submitted a planning application for 64 high specification apartments with basement parking.
A spokesman for Derngate Lofts said: “This is a very exciting development in the heart of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter. It will add to the vibrancy that is being brought to the town centre by the many Northampton Alive projects and will transform a redundant building into top quality apartments.
“It represents a multi-million pound investment and is likely to be occupied by people who want to take advantage of its very central position to frequent the theatres, restaurants and coffee houses on the doorstep”.
Newspaper House is the former Royal Mail sorting depot. It was bought in 1984 by the old Northants Post newspaper group which launched in 1975 and sold out in 1988.
The 26,000 square foot building is being sold by Tony and Marie Boullemier, two of the Post’s founders, who also launched Derngate Gym there in 1986. Marie ran the gym for 28 years before she closed the club and retired last September.
The Post was renamed the Herald & Post after it was sold. It stayed on in the building until 2012 and is now owned by the Local World group and run from offices in Bedford.
Looking Glass Theatre operated in Newspaper House’s basement from 2013 and this week moved to Hazelrigg House in Marefair. Previously, the basement housed a snooker club, launched in 1984 by David Atack and latterly owned by the Rileys group.
Former Northants Post managing director Tony Boullemier said this week: “It has not been possible to re-let the old newspaper offices so conversion to residential is the ideal solution.
“The building has served us very well. It was headquarters for our newspapers, employing 230 people at their peak and it was an ideal site for the gym. But it’s now around 60 years old and needs to be brought into the 21st Century.”