Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

YOUR PHOTO OPPORTUNITY; Hemel Hempstead, Fifties New Town and Home to Kodak, Is to Get a Snappy [Pounds Sterling]350 Million Revamp, Reports David Spittles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

YOUR PHOTO OPPORTUNITY; Hemel Hempstead, Fifties New Town and Home to Kodak, Is to Get a Snappy [Pounds Sterling]350 Million Revamp, Reports David Spittles

Article excerpt

Byline: David Spittles

Every picture tells a story and, in the case of Kodak's former european headquarters in Hemel Hempstead, now being transformed into a residential tower, the pictures show a modern, jazzy, blue-glass skyscraper about to become 434 homes.

Sixty years ago, sleepy Hemel Hempstead found itself on the commuter map. It was to become a New Town, part of the planners' dreams to create garden-city communities for overspill population from London.

By the late Fifties, there was a waiting list of 10,000 people wanting to move there, enticed in part by the efficient transport links to the capital (25-minute trains to euston or a 20-mile drive along the new M1).

Architect GA Jellicoe had designed a "city in a park", with water gardens alongside the river Gade and a pedestrianised shopping precinct (The Marlowes) proud to be the owner of Britain's first multi-storey car park. The area is about to savour another bout of modernisation with the launch of an ambitious [pounds sterling]350 million regeneration plan, spearheaded by the local council, to create a performing arts venue, library, college and 1,000 new homes by a riverside promenade.

In 2005, the Kodak Corporation was the town's major employer, and its huge headquarters was a revolutionary factory village, with gym, ballroom, cinema and restaurants. Developer Dandara is remodelling the old 21-storey building, adding two extra floors for penthouses and building connected low-rise blocks. A central piazza with water features and sculpture will be linked to the main shopping area via a new footbridge.

The development, called Image, dominates the town centre and looms over a convoluted road system, a series of mini-roundabouts that are a notorious traffic swirl. It is one of the tallest buildings in Hertfordshire, so offers splendid views from the upper floors.

There are 14 apartment types (oneand two-bedroom units). All have floor-to-ceiling windows, some are double aspect, while penthouses have roof terraces. Prices range from [pounds sterling]160,000 to [pounds sterling]300,000.

Dandara is targeting young Londonbound commuters, talking up the scheme's affordability and style.

Smart interiors have Leicht kitchens. residents will have use of a car club, concierge service and a peak-hours courtesy bus to the train station. Onsite parking is available and leases are for 250 years. Completion is due in summer 2010. Call 01442 838120.

To encourage parents to release cash for their offspring to buy, Dandara is offering to pay six per cent interest on deposits for up to five years, or until the property is resold, whichever is earlier.

One-bedroom apartments are expected to rent for [pounds sterling]650 to [pounds sterling]795 a month, and two-bedroom flats from [pounds sterling]850 to [pounds sterling]1,200. …

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