Is Norwich’s skyline set to change? Aviva open to offers on St Stephens Street tower blocks

Aviva Investors have put two iconic Norwich office blocks on the market. The two properties are on St Stephen's Street. Bidwells Estates map. Picture Submitted. Aviva Investors have put two iconic Norwich office blocks on the market. The two properties are on St Stephen's Street. Bidwells Estates map. Picture Submitted.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
10:41 AM

Norwich’s skyline might be on the verge of a dramatic transformation after two high-rise buildings were put on the market.

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Aviva Investors said it was open to offers on a pair office blocks on St Stephen’s Street in a move that could see them turned into flats, student accommodation or event a hotel.

The EDP Top 100 firm wants to start making money from the buildings and is considering all enquiries, including proposals to buy the towers, redevelop them, or take out a long lease for commercial or residential use.

And the insurer’s property division has not ruled out using its own money to improve the eight-storey blocks – if it finds the right proposal.

The revelation comes just weeks after developers behind the Westlegate Tower – widely regarded as a Norwich eyesore – announced it had sold the last of its 19 apartments.

William Jones, head of commercial at property agents Bidwells, said the market conditions were right to try and breathe fresh life into the buildings.

“Aviva Investors own the whole of the St Stephen’s Street block from the roundabout down to Surrey Street,” he said. “All of the shops are rented out on a lease hold basis, but what Aviva Investors would like to do is to create an income stream from the towers.”

“We imagine the use to be residential, student accommodation or even a hotel,” he added. “But it all depends upon what deal is put on the table.”

The two buildings, which offer a total of 153,172 sq ft of space, were previously used by Aviva as offices, but have been left vacant for a number of years.

Each tower has its own separate entrance on the south side of the property next to the Norwich bus station, while the buildings can also be accessed from Surrey Street between the Free School and Bignold House.

A potential deal could help Norwich City Council’s efforts to revitalise St Stephen’s Street as part of a master plan to create opportunities for offices, shops and homes.

Adrian Fennell, partner responsible for retail and leisure at Norwich-based Roche chartered surveyors – operating as joint agents for the site with Bidwells – said: “It is a great opportunity and it has been vacant for a large number of years. The market has picked up and in Norwich there is some confidence again, so we are hoping we will be able to attract good interest.”

•Are you investing to transform your business? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

15 comments

  • Much more parking is essential if these properties are to be redeveloped as apartments. The same applies to the proposed residential block next to the YMCA.

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    blue tractor

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Got rid of the fleas yet?

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    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • These Towers need the "Wrecking Ball" as do the the cheaply constructed parade of shops beneath.

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Aviva have killed-off much of Norwich Union - remember Pinebanks, the Pleasure Boat regatta for the staff, Pinebanks Open dayfete, the Athletic Association, and affiliated sports and leisure clubs - so why not go the whole hog and re-shape the area! The people of Norwich Union would be soooo proud (NOT)!!!!

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    UncleBaz22

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • In one of it's many "visions" for St Stephens, the city council proposed buying the buildings and the fronting shops to make a walk-through from St Stephens to the bus station. This could still be done with the southern building buy knocking through PoundLand.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Albert, I looked up that building and found a photo of it, looks really nice shame it's gone, I found a site with lots of old photos of the city, I don't think I am permitted to put a link on here but google "george plunkett photos of old norwich" you should find it very interesting. I'm not in favour of the wreking ball for those towers, they are owned by Aviva Investor and they look after my pension, so I hope they use them not demolish them.

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Even a lick of paint would help. At least something is going to happen to them.

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    Tone the moan

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Got rid of the fleas yet?

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Morning EN24 Bright Brigade.

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    Piranha24

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • What use are they for residential if cars are going to be banned from the surrounding streets?

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Something needs to be done about the traffic in the city centre,The pollution is dramatic with soot deposits covering the exteriors of buildings both commercial and domestic,and we all breathe in this polluted air every day,just observe the traffic jams along the lenght of the inner link road,buses loories and cars belching out fumes

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • @Resident Smith, I suspect the fleas have gone now they don't have us to feed on. @ So Many Hatter, "vision" the problem there is this is Norwich, it has no vision. But I had the same idea (vision) some years ago. The other idea was to pull down C&A before Next moved in, can you imagine what the Forum concourse would look like then. It could have been done but for a lack of vision. I have another vision for Norwich to remove buses from Norwich streets, the council love it but will do nothing about it, shame another wasted vision. I'll get my coat.

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Parkeg1 @ The C& A building saw the previous 18th century Lamberts Tea Warehouse demoished to allow its construction.Civic Vandalism !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • NigelS - why do people have to need cars? It is a desire like so many others. People lived in cities without cars for many centuries and they will probably again. Consumerism creates needs desires to keep us working....

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Albert, I looked up that building and found a photo of it, looks really nice shame it's gone, I found a site with lots of old photos of the city, I don't think I am permitted to put a link on here but google "george plunkett photos of old norwich" you should find it very interesting. I'm not in favour of the wreking ball for those towers, they are owned by Aviva Investor and they look after my pension, so I hope they use them not demolish them.

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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