So Claremont is sold at last – after several false dawns and even a last-minute complication on Friday morning (raised by a third party involved in financing the development, and much to the frustration of everyone else). The sale completed late afternoon on Friday.
Tomorrow, I’m told, builders will be at work. The scheme is for serviced accommodation, a cross between hotel and longer lets. Leeds CC conservation officers are heavily involved, internal walls are to be retained and there’s close attention to protecting historic features, inside and out.
I don’t think there’s a single one among us, those who’ve know the building as society headquarters over all these years, attended meetings there, used the library and archives, who hasn’t been saddened to lose such a wonderful place. Clearing it out and navigating the sale process haven’t been easy either.
It had to be, for there really wasn’t another option. Now it’s happened, it’s a wrench and a relief at the same time. I’m going to share more thoughts about YAHS’s past and future in the coming days. Meanwhile here is a message to society officers, just received from the new owners. I hope it reassures YAHS members, and all who appreciate Claremont, that the building is in considerate hands:
“I would just like to thank you for the time, effort and kindness you showed us over what was at times a stressful sale. We will try very hard to look after Claremont as we understand it’s important to yourselves, the society and indeed Leeds.”