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The Exchange apartment blocks finally finished and towering over Ringway

Posted on - 20th June, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment
A view of the Pole Street development from above Pic: The Heaton Group

What’s now become one of the tallest buildings on Preston’s skyline has been finally finished.

The Exchange, in Pole Street, has been under construction since being approved in 2021 and now towers above the Ringway and is one of the most visible blocks as you head towards the city centre.

Built by The Heaton Group the development, with 200 apartments, was originally due to be called Bhailok Court after its original backer, but was taken on by the Wigan-based developer and building firm.

Read more: Preston Youth Zone work unearths old mill site and items dating back 300 years

Aimed at being high-end apartments, all available to rent mainly directly by The Heaton Group or through private landlords, the block has been filling up quickly.

Marketing manager for The Heaton Group, Wayne Silver, told Blog Preston: “We’ve had some final bits being finished off along the front of Pole Street while a lot of residents have moved in.

“People began moving into The Exchange since late last year and we’ve had some really positive feedback already.

“What we hope to do is create a community, like we’ve done in Bishopsgate and that’s why we have the retail units down the front of the building – where the fencing had been while we got it all finished – but now that’s gone we’re hopeful of seeing those occupied soon.”

Asked about who would occupy the units, Mr Silver said they were in discussions with a number of potential occupiers – including hospitality businesses who are already in the city centre but looking at expanding their current premises.

Bishopsgate, which saw previous office blocks in Ormskirk Road and Lancaster Road North converted into apartments, have been cited by many as being a catalyst for a number of development schemes coming forward in the city as The Heaton Group achieve apartment and rental values previously unseen in the city.

See drone footage of the new Exchange site below or on YouTube

Overlooking where he studied – The Exchange’s manager

Overseeing The Exchange is manager Sam Warham and he now looks down – from the 15-floor building – on the place where he studied, Newman College.

Sam Warham Pic: Blog Preston

The 19-year-old, who lives in Longridge, said: “I was getting the bus into college each day and going past this place, so it is weird to find myself working here but I really enjoy it.

“We’ve been getting to know people as they move in and we’re finding there’s a mix between younger working people – who might be splitting the cost of an apartment – and also international students coming here on scholarships or placement years while studying at the university or linked to the hospital.

“Our aim is to create a community, we have security, we have our desk manned by myself or a colleague, and it’s not like other apartment blocks. We have a gym, a co-working area, and more. We want people to feel safe and secure in The Exchange.”

Mr Warham said the bulk of the building was already full with three-quarters of the apartments directly managed by The Heaton Group themselves, which makes it different to many high-rise schemes where apartments are sold off to multiple different landlords.

Read more: Preston’s landmark Guild Tower to be converted into more than 100 flats

What it’s like to live in The Exchange

One of those already moved in is Elly, 18, who is studying law.

She said: “The exterior and interior design of the building were major factors in my decision to move in. Secondly, the location of The Exchange is fantastic. I haven’t had to order an Uber or worry about groceries since moving in, as almost everything is within walking distance. It’s a new building with great potential and beautiful views, and I realised I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to live here.

“After making the decision and getting in touch with the staff, they’ve been nothing but helpful and responsive. I’ve particularly enjoyed communicating with Sam and Georgia. I moved into The Exchange on June 6, and since then, I’ve felt welcomed and have grown to love everything about the building even more. The ongoing construction shows there’s even more potential for the future.

“Although Preston is smaller compared to other UK cities, I’ve adapted quickly due to the convenient and unique shops around. I have everything I need nearby at The Exchange. I’ve even told my sister and friends about it, and luckily, they’re moving into their own apartments here too. Overall, I’m confident I’ll enjoy the rest of my stay, especially with my friend and sister as neighbours in such a convenient location.”

Inside one of the flats in The Exchange

The Heaton Group are due to announce an update on their next project in the city, the restoration and expansion of The Park Hotel site near Preston Railway Station and Avenham and Miller Parks in the months ahead – after receiving planning permission for it in February this year.

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