Bradford-based Malik House group is planning to open its fifth business centre in a historic Halifax town centre building.
Malik House Business Centres have bought the imposing Grade II listed Harrison House, in Harrison, Road, Halifax, which has been empty for around three years.
The group is headquartered in its Oakwood Court complex, off City Road, Bradford, and has a second business centre on Manor Row, in the city centre – with others in Leeds and Blackburn. Malik House specialises in refurbishing historic buildings, merging original features with state-of-the-art facilities. Previous redevelopments have created fully networked serviced office and conference spaces, with Superfast Broadband and the latest hi-tech security systems.
The new owners intend to divide the 14,500 sq ft building into around 30 office units for the use of a whole range of companies, with Malik House complexes renowned for attracting new business into an area to take advantage of the facilities and for sparking job creation.
Chairman of Malik House Business Centres is Nasser Malik, Bradford’s 2017 Business Personality of the Year in the Bradford Means Business Awards.
He said: “It has always been our aim to expand further out across Yorkshire and we have been looking for some time for suitable premises in Halifax.
“When this stunning property came on the market we knew it was exactly what we wanted. It’s a fantastic building, steeped in history, with an old library and a beautiful tiered lecture theatre. Our aim will be to retain as many of the original features as possible, while installing modern facilities to bring it up to date for business use.”
Harrison House, on the junction with Carlton Street, sits in a prominent position in the commercial district of Halifax town centre, opposite the magistrates’ court and surrounded by busy banking and legal offices and a number of bars.
The three-storey building already has a number of existing offices and training rooms on the first and second floors and boasts its own enclosed courtyard. There is a basement area which Mr Malik hopes to convert into additional usable space, potentially suitable for studios for use by digital businesses. The building had been used by Calderdale Council as an office/educational facility, so has “established use” planning consent for office and educational activities.
Mr Malik said his team is working closely with council officers and members of the Halifax Civic Trust to create a concept that will preserve the history and features, within a modern, functioning development that will benefit the district’s economy and stimulate business growth.
Halifax Civic Trust Vice Chairman David Glover says Harrison House dates back to 1834 when it was home to the rather select Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society, who met and held lectures there.
The society had a museum on the premises which was later opened to the public. The opening and early days were mentioned in the famous diaries of Anne Lister who was the only female founder member. As well as intriguing treasures like “Miss Watkinson’s stuffed crocodile” it had a thriving scientific and natural history section.
Extensions in the 1860s created the lecture hall and library. In 1896, the Society’s museum collections were presented to the town and formed the basis of Bankfield and Belle Vue Museums. After the Society closed in 1964 it passed to Halifax Borough Council.
For many years from the 1960s it housed a Calderdale Council branch Library and was used for Choral Society rehearsals and occasional lectures in the fine raked theatre with its “notable acoustics.” It was later leased to Calderdale DART (Disabled Advice Resource Team) and local substance misuse teams, was used by mental health charities and as a Well Woman Centre.
Halifax Civic Trust has been expressing concern for some time about the number of historically or architecturally important buildings lying empty and unused in the Halifax Town Centre Conservation Area. The Trust fears that if these historic buildings are left empty for too long, their condition will deteriorate, putting their future at risk.
Mr Glover said: “We are concerned about the future of these historic buildings and we do wish to conserve them and find new uses, with sympathetic conversion wherever possible.”
Malik House and YEN
• Malik House Business Centres are also the owners of Yorkshire Enterprise Network, one of the county’s biggest business support organisations.
• YEN runs the YEN Expo2017 business conference, taking place at Bradford College’s David Hockney building on Monday, November 6.
• Clients moving into the new Halifax complex will have the additional benefit of YEN business support services.
For more information about Malik House Business Centres visit: www.malikhouse.co.uk