• The Gresham, Leicester

Excitement builds as The Gresham scaffolding starts to come down

The refreshed exterior of Leicester’s newest aparthotel is starting to be revealed as the scaffolding is dismantled.

The former Fenwick department store has been behind covers since February 2020, when developers, Aimrok Holdings started the £17 million renovation to transform the iconic Grade II listed building into a high-end 133-bed aparthotel with four prime commercial units and 12,000 square feet of state-of-the-art office accommodation and flexible meeting space.

Over years, the 140-year old exterior ashlar stone had discoloured and was in need of cleaning and restoration from top to bottom, in order to preserve and brighten the beautiful old façade

It will take around six weeks to dismantle all the scaffolding, but it is anticipated the stunning new-look building will be fully revealed by early June.

Meanwhile, inside The Gresham - despite the pandemic - there also has been a considerable amount of continuous activity since renovations started 15 months ago. Much of the preliminary work involved strengthening the foundations and ensuring the old building was structurally secure before it could be worked upon.

Snizhana Yesaulenko, director at Aimrok Holdings and managing director of principal contractor, Cube Construction said, “Being such an old building we had to take each part step by step to make sure it was not only safe, but met the current building regulations – which are considerably different now from when the building was built in the 1800s .

“The Gresham is one of the most complex builds that we’ve ever done due to its age, visibility, location and the fact that it has been altered so much over the years.

“There was so much that needed to be done in the initial stages from replacing brick work, rebuilding walls, levelling flooring and re-constructing lift shafts to raising staircases and lifting handrails to name but a few things!

“We did actually spend more time on restoration that we originally planned, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We are confident that we now have a building that is safe, warm and welcoming.

Front gable“I can’t wait for the scaffolding to drop to see our beautifully restored building in all its full glory.”

Internally, The Gresham will benefit from a new central light well running from floor to ceiling which allows natural light to flow through whole building. The main staircase has been carefully renovated; double glazing has been added throughout and an ornate stained glass panel – which was not in the original plan - has been saved and restored as a feature.

Yesaulenko added, “Where possible we have tried to retain as many of the original historic characteristics as possible. All the exterior windows have been painstakingly reconditioned by hand: each glass panel has been cleaned, repaired and every frame sanded and repainted by three members of staff who have been doing this for the past 13 months. It has taken a very long time but the results will be worth it. “

The marketing show room is anticipated to be ready soon and images and viewings will be available in the very near future. The Gresham is on course to open in the early Autumn.

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