After 20 years of dereliction and a former life as a war hospital, gym and council offices, a historic building in Leeds has been transformed into what could be the city’s most luxurious apartments.
The Bells, on Church Row, stand in the shadows of Leeds Minster (hence the name) and was bought by businessman Michael Rothwell in 2013 along with the Lamb and Flag pub next door.
He originally planned to turn the site into a hotel and then considered a block of 15 apartments but was inspired by his travels around the world to create something that he felt the city was lacking.
And this week the results of a four-year project and a £1.7m investment have been unveiled.
There are six luxury self catering apartments with king size beds, balconies overlooking the minster (designed like a Rio hotel where David Beckham stayed), mezzanine floors, hot tubs, designer bathrooms, fitted kitchens with Nespresso coffee machines, Taylors of Harrogate teas, Molten Brown toiletries and Calvin Klein rugs.
Each serviced apartment, named after famous bells, has been designed and furnished by Mr Rothwell, using his self-taught eye for interior design, and he has mixed luxury leather sofas with reclaimed features picked up at antique shop and auctions.
He has used a stained glass window, which was being thrown out by builders, as a floor and the original gates are now statement wall art. He said: “We were going to do smaller apartments but having thought about it, there are so many in Leeds. I travel a lot around the world and see some amazing places and decided to bring a bit back to Leeds. It is not our passion to make money, I did it because I wanted to bring the best out of the building and do something unique that anybody can come and enjoy.”