First Choice Homes Oldham – New HQ

Oldham Council has approved the sale of a town centre site for the development of new headquarters for First Choice Homes Oldham.

The 35,000 sqft, three storey building for the social housing provider will be on Union St /Phoenix Street and form part of the Council’s wider regeneration plans for the area.

Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Town Centre, said: “This is an excellent regeneration scheme and it will breathe new life into an important town centre site.

“FCHO is a crucial partner for Oldham Council. We’ve long shared their aspirations to have a purpose-built headquarters and are delighted to be working with them to deliver this development.”

5plus director Phil Doyle said: “Our brief was to design a new landmark for Oldham that will help inspire further development. This building sets new standards of design for the town and matches the ambition of FCHO not only for their own staff but for their customers.

“The building is highly engineered to be as energy efficient and cheap to run as possible; the glass atrium as well as being a vibrant and dynamic space, allows maximum penetration of natural daylight and assists in ventilation. The three storey building also has a green roof, promoting biodiversity and contributing to the sustainable drainage strategy for the building.

“It will be built with a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating in mind. This not only assesses the environmental performance and impact of the building but also takes into account the health and wellbeing of its occupiers, the management processes, use of a local supply chain, and is a benchmark higher than required regulation.

“We look forward to seeing the work commence in May 2013 and to handing the keys over to FCHO in October 2014.”

Cath Green, Chief Executive, FCHO said: “As Oldham’s largest housing association, and one of the largest local employers, we recognise our responsibility to create economic opportunities in Oldham and do what we can to help the local economy.

“Our new flagship location on Union Street will not only provide an attractive space for employees, with fantastic transport links, but having the majority of our 500+ staff in one location will mean increased visitors to the town centre who will be spending locally too.

“The build will involve partnership working and will create jobs including apprenticeships for young people. We are committed to spending locally where possible and we expect the build to exceed our current target of 25% local spend.

“The building has been designed to offer an enhanced customer experience to tenants of our 12,000 properties, with more private interview rooms, learning zones for practical advice sessions, and a computer hub; as well as better space for staff with flexible meeting and training spaces. We also plan to offer the onsite catering to a local social enterprise.

“Customers and staff have been involved in the design process through direct consultation events held with our appointed architects 5plus, and their feedback has directly influenced the design decisions.

“I am delighted that this development has been approved and we look forward to seeing our vision realised.”