Property Investors Awards – Commercial Development of the Year

Property Investors Awards – Commercial Development of the Year

9:04 AM, 18th April 2024, About 2 months ago

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A grade II listed church transformed into two modern apartments by SJC Property Developments highlights their approach to property that can seamlessly blend historical preservation with contemporary living.

With more than 40 years of experience, SJC has established itself as one of the leading players in the industry.

The firm is now the winner of the Commercial Development of the Year (£1 million or below) at the 2023 Property Investors Awards.

Steeped in history, the transformation of the Duxford United Reformed Church near Cambridge was not an easy task.

The former church dates to 1794 and was used as a place of worship until its final service in June 2019. It briefly served as a Post Office before being sold at auction for £218,000.

Then SJC’s skilled construction team went above and beyond to transform the church into two mezzanine apartments which use some of the original features of the church.

Taking 15 months to complete, transforming the grade II listed church did come with its challenges.

Sam Carter, a director of SJC, explains: “A grade II listed property within a conservation area brought hurdles. We aimed for four units, but road constraints resulted in two units due to space limitations and road location.

“Intensive planning negotiations followed with the council and conservation officers. In addressing fire safety adherence, we embraced innovation with sound bars, achieving high scores, while 100mm solid concrete block walls ensured robust fire resistance.”

He added: “Adhering to regulations, unmodifiable sash windows received PAS-24 secondary glazing. Meeting door regulations with our unique locking system required specialist discovery. Our fingerprint and keypad technology also offers our guests and tenants the highest level of security.”

In line with their commitment to sustainability, SJC’s restoration efforts extended beyond aesthetics.

The church now boasts extensive insulation, contributing to reduced energy consumption and a smaller carbon footprint.

The incorporation of charging points for electric vehicles aligns with the firm’s dedication to eco-friendly practices. These improvements have led to a notable increase in the building’s Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), transitioning from an F rating to a C rating.

Mr Carter adds that the church offers a captivating experience for its tenants.

He said: “The property’s uniqueness comes from its church origin blending with preserved listed features. Its scale, grandness and heritage modern theme mixed with its unique charm.

“The master suite, mood lighting and bespoke wardrobes reflect dedication to excellence. Hymn boards, grand architraves and original plaques enrich character.”

Mr Carter added: “Both apartments define sophistication with eight-metre high ceilings, glass balustrades, custom-stained staircases and bespoke swinging chairs.

“We believe the story of this development is ever so inspiring as we strive to break away from standard beige properties by highlighting the design of 1700s listed features. This building tells a story and offers an inspiring experience for guests and tenants.”

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