Choice Housing officially opened their £3.6m upgrade of 126 Strand Road in Derry/Londonderry on 8th October.
The ambitious upgrade transformed the historic building formerly known as Rock Mills. Its 86 apartments have been replaced by 94 new self-contained units, three of which can accommodate a family of four. It is one of the largest housing renovation and refurbishment projects undertaken in the city and will radically enhance the area.
Working in collaboration with the Department for Communities (DfC) and the Housing Executive, Choice developed a strategy to completely renovate the building. The project, which started in November 2016, marks a new chapter for the scheme and for its residents, bringing the very best standards and latest energy saving technologies into the historic building.
Michael McDonnell, Group Chief Executive of Choice Housing said: “We believe in providing good quality housing to those who need it and actively involving tenants in our plans. The renovation work at 126 Strand Road is a fine example of what we are trying to achieve. It was through consultation with our tenants that the decision was made to rename the scheme, helping to express the new character of the development.
“This project includes a significant reconfiguration of the building, enabling a wider range of tenancies accommodated and a series of major improvements throughout the scheme. The completion of this scheme is great news for its tenants and for the city as a whole, particularly given the need for quality accessible social housing in the Derry/Londonderry area. We have been pleased to see the support for the redevelopment of this scheme in the local area also”.
The renovation project included an overhaul of all electrics and plumbing within the building and the fitting of new kitchens and bathrooms throughout, as well as a number of other upgrades.
The first tenants moved in during April 2017, with remaining rest settling in over the last number of months. tenants taking up residency in their new homes in August 2018 ahead of its official opening today.
During the official opening, Paul Price from the Department for Communities unveiled an official opening plaque to mark the occasion. Paul said: “The refurbishment of this development was essential to ensuring its long term future as a social housing provision for the Derry~Londonderry area. The scheme has made a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s Social Housing Development programme, with £570k of the project’s capital funding comprising DfC Housing Association Grant”.
AMSON Consortium, a joint venture between local construction firm AMS Ltd and Omagh-based O’Neill Electrics Ltd., undertook the refurbishment.
Gerry Donaghy from AMSON said: “This project is very important for the city and it was vital that the refurbishment of the scheme was seamless while ensuring a high level of delivery. Our expertise and experience has ensured this ambitious project was delivered on time and to a very high standard. We are pleased to be here today to witness the official opening of 126 Strand Road”.
Located adjacent to the junction of Strand Road and Rock Road, 126 Strand Road overlooks the River Foyle and comprises the listed former Gilliland Flour Mills, constructed in 1846.