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One of Cardiff’s pioneering commercial properties given new lease of life

Once deemed a problem property, one of Cardiff’s first modern, purpose-built out-of-town commercial property buildings has been given a new lease of life after being purchased and renovated by office developers WCR Property. The building now has its first occupiers after some 10 years of being empty.

Formerly known as Abacus House, Quest House was built in the late ’80s and at the time was one of the first of a new breed of buildings built in Cardiff. With the majority of office spaces existing in the city centre or mixed with retail above shops, St Mellons was one of the first modern out-of-town offices built in a landscaped business park in Wales.

The 22,400 sq ft building was first sold in 1990 for £2m, but since then it has existed as a rented occupancy with tenants including Abacus Office Supplies, the Environment Agency, and more recently, financial services company Hazell Carr. However, the last tenant moved on from the building in 2008, and it has since sat empty.

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WCR purchased the property in April for £650,000. The company has invested over half-a-million-pounds to transform the building into a modern-day office equipped with new energy efficient heating, air-conditioning, ultra-fast fibre broadband and even a meeting pod in the newly landscaped courtyard.

The building is comprised of two floors set around a central garden courtyard. There are ten smaller offices ranging from 130 to 400 sq ft and four large office suites with 1300 to 2600 sq ft of space available. All the offices have access to a modern reception area, kitchen/breakout, lounge area, toilets and showers.

Property Director at WCR Property, Mike Wallace said:

“When we initially looked at the building it was in a sorry state. The fact that there was no heating, and that it was only capable of being let to large companies, means that it failed to even make its reserve at auction. It was perceived to be a problem property.

“Given its location, we knew the building had a lot of potential, it just needed some investment and a knowledgeable pair of hands. Our model of converting large open offices into smaller, more flexible spaces has proved itself time and again.

“We knew that with our experience and the talent of our team we could have a real winner on our hands, and that’s proven to be the case, as we’ve transformed the space into a comfortable, modern office environment.”

The business park is only a few hundred yards away from the proposed Cardiff Parkway train station, giving occupants the chance to be in Cardiff in 6 minutes and London in 90.

Mike continued: “We’ve already secured occupancy for half of the ground floor suites, with more potential deals being done in the coming weeks. We expect demand to further increase as the Parkway train station develops, especially as it’s going to mean occupants will be just a short walk away from a station with trains to London arriving every ten minutes.

“We’re very proud of the transformation job the team has done, and we are looking forward to the wider-planned investments in the area coming to fruition.”