Plans move ahead with Vespasian House office to BTR conversion

Regeneration plans move forward for Dorchester office building Vespasian House to be converted into a Build to Rent development.

The Vespasian House office building in Dorchester that is set to be converted into a Build to Rent scheme | BTR News
The Vespasian House office building in Dorchester that is set to be converted into a Build to Rent scheme.

Vespasian House, an office building in Dorchester is set to be converted into an £11m Build to Rent scheme. The regeneration plans are being bought forward by RTI Estates Ltd, who are part of the forward-thinking Dorchester-based property company Redtale Holdings. RTI owns the freehold of the office complex and surrounding land.

RTI has notified Dorset Council of its intention to convert the entire building and loft of Vespasian House under permitted development rights, where the change of use is already acceptable in principle.

The landmark Vespasian House site in the town centre will see the delivery of 37 Build to Rent apartments in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including penthouse apartments in what is currently the loft. The new scheme will house up to 144 people.

The conversion would also include parking, although RTI has a keen focus on sustainability in the design, construction and use of all its developments, including low and zero carbon technologies.

The company is aiming to provide high quality, flexible short and long-term secure rental accommodation, with tenancy agreements from six months to five years.

The repurposing of Vespasian House comes as NHS organisations based in the building are considering alternative arrangements to co-locate with local partners. 

“Vespasian House is a key, brownfield site in a highly sustainable location in Dorchester town centre. We have been advised by the NHS that they are looking at alternative arrangements to co-locate with local partners. 

“With their departure, we have looked at how we can repurpose the building in a positive way for the community and local economy as part of our wider ongoing regeneration of the Barrack Quarter.

“We are exploring the possibility of delivering rental homes, with flexible leases from six months up to five years that provide families with not only high quality modern sustainable homes, but also provide flexible and secure tenures not normally associated with the rental sector.  

“We believe that with demand for rental properties being so high, this would be an ideal, long-term sustainable repurposing of Vespasian House.

“Being so close to the nearby hospital, transport links and all the town centre amenities, it would further support the revitalisation of Dorchester town centre and make a valuable contribution to the chronic under supply of rental homes in the county town.” 

Malcolm Curtis, Chief Executive, RTI Estates Ltd

The Vespasian House Build to Rent scheme is part of RTI’s urban regeneration of Dorchester’s historic Barrack Quarter at the top of town.

This has already included a £2.4m development of Barrack House in the northwest corner of the site, with nine key worker apartments let to NHS workers and their families.

The regeneration has also converted the former quartermaster’s stores into five townhouses and two apartments for open market sale. 

RTI has previously gained planning consent for a residential extension to Vespasian House and a mixed-used building with apartments and commercial space. These plans are unaffected by the plans for further accommodation.