Listed Cardiff office landmark Hodge House in £10m refurbishment

A Cardiff landmark is poised to enter a new phase of life following a £10m refurbishment.

Owner Legal & General has undertaken a comprehensive refurbishment and re-branding to bring the 110,000 sq ft, eight-storey Hodge House office building in Cardiff city centre into the 21st century.

Architects Stride Treglown were commissioned to design and deliver the transformation, with the works undertaken by Paramount Interiors alongside a client team of JLL project managers and Hoare Lea.   The project is set for completion by March this year.

The impressive and ornately detailed Portland stone façade with sash windows, originally inspired by the architecture of London’s Regent Street, has been cleaned, sympathetically repaired and redecorated. The four face clock, previously frozen at 10 past 7, is once again a prominent public timekeeper and city wayfinder.

Internally, the 1990s refurbishment has been stripped back to reveal original cast iron decorative columns from the 1915 construction, riveted steel structure from the 1930s and a variety of exposed brick and plasterwork. Other authentic period features, including the vaulted ballroom ceiling and ornate heritage stair balustrading, have been meticulously restored.

Quality new finishes in the communal spaces create a ‘wow factor’ and make the building stand out within the local market. A statement black and white checkerboard tiled floor in the hospitality-focussed reception takes cue from the entranceways of prominent London addresses.

Project Lead Toni Riddiford of architects Stride Treglown said:

“We relish the challenge of working with landlords to refresh existing buildings to meet the expectations of occupiers in 2020 and beyond, re-shaping them with well-conceived, distinctive and functional designs.

“We hope to revive the character of Hodge House through sensitive defurbishment, to reveal and celebrate the tapestry of its rich and varied history.”

The work has seen the lifts, plant equipment and lighting completely replaced and the new services left exposed, displaying the visible contrast between old and new. New facilities have been introduced to bring fresh wellbeing-focussed benefits to future occupiers, with cycle storage, showers and changing facilities supporting sustainable travel. A ‘Get Ready’ room allows users to seamlessly transition from work to play, while a multi-purpose studio and south facing roof terrace provide space for relaxation and social activities.

The open plan office floors on levels 3-5, with carefully considered layouts and new energy efficient M&E, provide a blank canvas for tenant fit out. The 6th floor boasts impressive panoramic views of the Principality Stadium and Cardiff Castle, and also incorporates Legal & General’s Capsule offering, a flexible leasing solution that is furnished, connected and ‘work ready’ for incoming tenants. The fit out supports agile, activity-based working through the provision of varied settings for collaboration, formal and informal meetings, break out, and quiet, focussed tasks.

The remodelled Hodge House is being marketed by letting agents Knight Frank and Fletcher Morgan. Matt Phillips of Knight Frank commented:

“It is incredibly exciting to see the building being transformed to provide 21st century Grade A office space, while retaining the heritage and character of the building. We are increasingly seeing occupiers wanting their workspace to portray their brand and ethos and we believe that this space will be very well received by potential tenants.”

John James of Fletcher Morgan commented:

“We believe that Cardiff has been desperately waiting for this quality of office accommodation that gives today’s occupier the modern facilities they demand, while offering real character and quality in the building itself.”

Hodge House was constructed in 1915 for the Co-operative Wholesale Society on a prominent St Mary Street plot that was previously the site of the Old Town Hall. The building was originally divided into a range of retail departments, joint packing warehouse and a meat smokehouse.

Following extensions, war damage repairs and the addition of two mansard storeys, it eventually became the headquarters of its namesake – Julian Hodge Bank. More recently it housed the Slaters Menswear retail store before the upper floors were converted completely to office accommodation.

By 2016, Hodge House was a workplace that had fallen behind the times. However, with its prime city centre location, vast floor plates and unique character, the building had the bones of an attractive proposition for any occupier.

Toni Riddiford of Stride Treglown said:

“With buildings like Hodge House, we view ourselves as custodians trusted to respect the vision of the original creators and the sense of place established over time, whilst striving to secure their future vitality.”