Hudson House: offices to flats

1960s concrete office block

Hudson House from the city walls, April 2016

Update – the text below was written in 2016. The building has since been demolished and there’s a new development on the site. I’ve written an update: Hudson Quarter (Hudson House site). For all pages on Hudson House see this link.

. . . . .

I had a walk along the walls yesterday evening to have a proper look at Hudson House. And here it is. Well, a bit of it. It’s quite large. Today’s ‘April daily photo‘.

Stonebow House, over the other side of town, has been the focus of much attention in recent days, following the emergence of plans to revamp the existing building. Meanwhile, plans for this 1960s concrete building have been approved (subject to a section 106 agreement) and no one seems particularly interested. So I thought I’d give it some attention, rather than Stonebow House, which these pages have covered in depth many times already. (We got so deep and involved we even wrote a poem about it.)

So, here we are at Hudson House, between Toft Green and the bar walls. Much of it is to be converted to residential use, keeping some office space, upgraded to ‘Grade A’.

I wrote a fairly lengthy page about this building some time back, one of a series of ‘office block studies‘. It included thoughts on the building from observers in decades past. We also observed that it had ended up rather grubby-looking over the years.

The plans will see it cleaned and its windows replaced. It will be interesting to see the effect of this, what kind of face it presents both to the bar walls and to Toft Green, when it’s all smartened up and people are living in it.

Googling for information on Hudson House led me to places I wouldn’t normally go — pages about finance and assets and shares and the like. I found myself on the London Stock Exchange website, as apparently Hudson House, which I knew in my youth as British Rail offices, is now the major asset of a company called Palace Capital. An article from December 2014 states:

Cushman & Wakefield valued the property at GBP4.3 million when Palace Capital bought it, and the valuation had increased to GBP9.65 million as of September 30 of this year.


And presumably valued at even more now, in 2016.

The planning application documents are an interesting read. The Economic Statement, for example, quoting a 2014 viability study, states that ‘a speculative office scheme is unlikely to be viable in current market conditions’. So the proposed massive office blocks at York Central … ? Perhaps there’s an expectation that they’ll be massively desirable and viable by the time they’re built.

The need, of course, is for more housing. The Committee Report prepared for last Thursday’s meeting states:

The applicants are not proposing any affordable housing. The development has been subject to an independent viability assessment and this position has been accepted.

These new apartments will be for rent, not sale. Part of the ever-growing ‘private rented sector’ here in York.

See ‘More information’, below, for background and links to the relevant planning application documents.

This is just one of many conversions of large office blocks to residential use. The work on the former Holgate Villa has been completed recently, Hilary House has been remodeled as Biba House, and over on Piccadilly the United House office block is in the process of being converted to the ‘Piccadilly Residence’. (Across the road from it is Ryedale House, surely another candidate for change of use to residential.) The former Aviva building on the corner of Rougier Street, not far away, is also to be converted to residential use.

More information

See the planning application documents. Of particular interest: (PDF files), the Committee Report, the Heritage Statement, the Design and Access Statement and the Economic Statement.

More information on why so many office blocks are turning into apartments

Property veterans’ young venture Palace Capital has a spring in its step (


The building has since been demolished and there’s a new development on the site. I’ve written an update: Hudson Quarter (Hudson House site). For all pages on Hudson House see this link.

About Lisa @YorkStories

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