The refurbishment of Camden Town Hall will cost £63 million, nearly £20m more than the council projected in 2016.Camden Council says the 80-year-old Grade II listed building on Judd Street – initially forecast at £44.2m – requires a “much-needed spruce up” and will “pay for itself” from rental revenue, but admits costs have risen due to structural repairs, safety issues and a desire to make the facility “environmentally sustainable”.
Works are due to start in February, with the town hall predicted to be reopened in early 2022, after plans were unanimously approved at a recent cabinet meeting of Camden Council. The borough’s finance and transformation chief Richard Olszewski said: “As the project has progressed we have found out more about the condition of the building that has affected cost, but these are things that can’t be ignored.
“We needed to look at things like the condition of the roof which needs to be entirely refurbished. The conditioning of the stone facade of the building and the metal frame that lies behind it require much more work than we could determine initially.”It wasn’t until we started scraping paint off the wall that we realised that this was going to be expensive, but it will be worth it because we are going to be creating a building space that will last us for a century.”
As part of the refurbishment, the reception area of the Judge Street entrance will be upgraded, a new entrance will be built in Bidborough Street, and office space will be rented out including to smaller businesses at 50 per cent of the market rate.The Camden Centre – located at the eastern end of the building – will be run by events company Il Bottaccio and hired for commercial events.
Cllr Olszewski added: “What we have here is a once in a century investment in a significant public building.”It will provide us with a much-needed spruce up and modernised municipal floor. A lot of it will look the same, but it will look a lot better.”It will also provide equally significant space for businesses and incubator space for small businesses.
“It is a significant investment, now at £63 million, but it does pay for itself in the long run through rental streams that we will get from the office space.”Designed by architects Purcell and managed by construction company Lendlease, the project includes upgrading windows, replacing the third floor conservatory, maintaining the building’s facades, and conservation repairs. The town hall’s registry office will also be reconfigured with a new wedding suite.
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