THE first retail tenant has been confirmed at a Hereford site devastated by a major fire a decade ago.

Principality Building Society has been unveiled as the first of two retail tenants at the newly redeveloped Alban House in Hereford's High Town.

The society is moving its city branch from 2 St Peters Square to 16-18 High Town, with shopfitters moving in during August for an autumn opening.

Alban House was brought back to life by Elevate Property Group after it was gutted by fire in 2010, and now provides 18 residential properties alongside two retail units on the ground floor.

Julian Owens, of sales and letting agents Arkwright Owens, said the firm was delighted to have secured such a prestigious tenant, and is hopeful of securing a tenant for the second unit.

The rebuilding and renovation of Alban House was undertaken by Hereford building contractor C J Bayliss some eight years after the original fire brought the city to a standstill with over 100 firefighters battling through the night to save the site and stop the blaze spreading to neighbouring buildings.

The site had remained derelict and unloved until Elevate Property Group stepped in and bought the site with its Grade II façade in early 2017.

But the developers faced a series of hurdles, not least a long saga over power provision after an electricity sub-station was destroyed in the 2010 blaze.

Saxon ramparts dating back to the late 9th century were also discovered within the foundations, requiring careful archaeological assessment and chronicling by county experts.

Work on the residential units was completed in late 2019, and the first new occupants moved into Alban House in late January and early February.

David Hofton, sales and marketing director of Elevate Property Group, said: “Alban House has been a labour of love for us. As responsible developers, we are very conscious of the heritage of the cathedral city of Hereford and we wanted to ensure that we respect the history of the site, while ultimately bringing to the market much needed accommodation in this popular part of the city.

“At times it seemed as if this site was determined not to be redeveloped but we have been buoyed up by the support of residents and the council who were keen for us to make progress.

“We were particularly pleased to be able to award the contract for the redevelopment of this complex site to a local contractor in C J Bayliss and they have produced an outstanding result,” he said.

Joint agents Arkwright Owens and Connells will be holding an open day with appropriate social distancing and safety measures on July 11, by appointment only, with the intention of showcasing the remaining residential units.

Invitations to view Alban House are available from agent Arkwright Owens in Hereford on 01432 267213, or Connells on 01432 267511. For more information, see