Refurbishment serves up new future in historic Southampton

October 17, 2018

New life is to be breathed into a prominent building in the historic heart of Southampton. The 11,000 sq ft space at 182-183 High Street, in the Bargate Quarter, is being transformed into a retail and restaurant destination with co-working space.

Winchester-based property developer Gentian Development Group acquired the 1950s property and has appointed Dust, a Winchester and London design practice, to carry out a sympathetic refurbishment.

Coffee shop operator Coffee Lab has signed an anchor occupier lease on 7,000 sq ft and will manage the co-working space from its coffee shop on the ground floor.

Gentian director Nick Ekins said: "Despite overlooking the iconic heritage of the medieval Bargate, the site has lain vacant since the 99p Store vacated three years ago.

"In our digital age, entrepreneurs and home workers only require a laptop and phone to do business, rather than a fixed desk and office located inconveniently miles from their homes, and the new co-working space will cater for this popular way of doing commerce."

Nick added: "The property will also benefit from the Bargate Quarter regeneration scheme, which sees 400,000 sq ft of new development opening in 2021, including student accommodation."

Dust has designed the scheme which will see the building converted using the minimum of intervention by stripping the building back to its basic components and using pieces of furniture and contemporary lighting to define the space.

The sympathetic refurbishment also includes new WCs and showers and the installation of air-conditioning.

Dust's Poppy McNee said: "Co-working and flexible space is the future of modern work, and Dust is excited to collaborate with Gentian to redefine the idea of flexible working space for Southampton's growing number of young entrepreneurs."

LSH and JLL are jointly instructed to secure an occupier for the remaining 4,300 sq ft of retail space.

Alex Hirst of LSH said: "With the Bargate Quarter coming on stream next year and the large number of new residential schemes nearby which cater for the rapidly growing population of young professionals, 183 High Street is situated in one of the most up and coming parts of Southampton."

The acquisition and refurbishment of 182-183 High Street is one of Gentian's latest projects.

Gentian acquired one of Winchester's more prominent city centre buildings, four-storey Trafalgar House, and let 15,000 sq ft of the Grade II-listed property to construction firm Skanska UK following a £3 million refurbishment last year.

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