REDEVELOPMENT plans for one of Bradford’s most important buildings look finally to be coming to fruition after almost 30 years of dereliction.

The Priestley Group, the new owner of Conditioning House in Cape Street, has lodged proposals with Bradford Council to convert the former textile testing centre into about 130 one and two-bed apartments, offices, a gym and cafe.

The overall development is expected to take about 18 months and will cost about £8.5 million, including the acquisition cost.

Conditioning House, built by the Council in 1902 and Grade II listed, has stood empty since the 1980s when it was sold.

Despite a number of owners and different plans put forward, nothing happened.

About 12 months ago the Priestley Group bought the building from Caddick Developments.

Now, it is hoping to secure planning approval by December so it can start work before the New Year.

The company has a joint venture partner for the development, Singapore-based Mumiment, which provides financial investment.

“It is a very exciting project and as far as I am aware will be the biggest conversion of its kind near the city centre,” said Priestley Group chief executive officer Nathan Priestley.

“It is a very overused term, but the building is majestic. Its conversion will make a wonderful place to live, near to amenities and the heart of the city.

“I am Bradford-born and bred and to have been a part of the regeneration of the city centre so far has been very special.

“Over the past five years our company has been involved in the conversion and refurbishment of a number of buildings in Bradford, such as Airedale House, the Grand Mill in Sunbridge Road, Grattan House and premises in Quebec Street.

“It wasn’t until we bought the building that a family member told me my grandfather, Ronnie Priestley, used to work there as a driver.”

Mr Priestley added that construction will secure about 100 on-site jobs as well as supporting a further 500 jobs locally through suppliers.

The plans also include adjacent car parking for between 100 and 150 vehicles and proposals to make it residents’ only parking on the street.

Rob Pell, head of the construction department for the Leeds-based construction company, added: “The talks so far with the Council have been good and we are optimistic.

“If everything goes according to plan we could be looking at starting work in December.

“It is difficult to give an exact estimate of how long it would take to complete, but something of this size would normally be around 18 months.”

Mr Pell added that the company is working on asbestos removal plus some enabling work over the next two weeks in preparation for work to start.

Mr Priestley added: “As a company, we have invested heavily in Bradford’s regeneration over the past five years with several empty building conversion projects delivered to date.

“We operate across the north of England, specialising in building conversions and in particular, listed buildings.

“Although other cities provide a more secure and higher return of investment, speaking bluntly, I am born and bred in Bradford, as are multiple generations of my family so I put a lot of emphasis on the city.”


Allan Booth, chairman of Bradford Property Forum, said the news was “very good”.

“The building has been empty for going on 30 years so to hear that something is going to be done with it.

"I am pleased to hear of the plans for mixed development too."

Si Cunningham, chairman of Bradford Civic Society added: “Conditioning House has been unloved for far too long, so it’s good to see a full restoration is finally on the cards, and that another one of our grand old industrial buildings is coming back to life.

“In a parallel universe, this part of the city would be Bradford’s thriving answer to Liverpool’s Albert Dock, full of life and things to do.”