Comment: Hertfordshire House's revamp is a good thing for St Albans
PUBLISHED: 10:02 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 26 September 2019
The trouble with modern flats is that they all look the same, right? In the case of Hertfordshire House - wrong.
This former office building, which has stood derelict on the corner of Civic Close and Bricket Road in central St Albans for more than a decade, is in the process of being redeveloped into a swish seven-storey apartment building.
Strictly speaking it's a renovation project, but its transformation has been so thorough it looks like a brand new building.
Indeed, while some of the ground floor is still boarded up, the rest of the exterior is now so far removed from its earlier incarnation that some assume the original building was demolished and swiftly rebuilt.
It's the inside that's most appealing, though. The high ceilings left from its office era make for a spacious feel, despite the square footage (the 24 non-penthouse apartments are between 434 sq ft and 598 sq ft).
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The airy entrance hall, which will be flanked by a couple of commercial units, adds to the feeling of space. And the noise of ongoing building works is surprisingly muted when viewed from behind the double glazed windows.
The star attraction is the pair of penthouses with their covetable kitchen islands and balcony views across the city centre and beyond.
They weren't ready for an internal viewing when I visited, but I was able to make the most of the view from their wrap around balconies - still super, despite the gusty, overcast weather conditions.
This is the first part of the high profile Civic Centre Opportunity Site to near completion, and so far at least, it's looking good.
Snapping up one of these flats doesn't come cheap of course - prices start at £320,000.
Like every city centre development before it, this one has its detractors. Personally I'd take it over its derelict, deeply depressing predecessor - whatever the weather.