Q&A with Jean (Coach House, Halifax)
By Sara Feiz
Jean and Michael recently visited one of our development sites in Halifax, acting both as explorers and as business people, to meet one of our developers, assess life in this region and find out more about the current property market – more specifically, a brand new hotel we have just been given to sell exclusively!
Jean – Managing Director at Properties of the World – has a wealth of experience in real estate, through family owned businesses and personal projects in the USA and the UK.
Michael – Head of Sales – had long stints at a number of investment banking firms before joining the company. He now spends his time negotiating with and meeting developers as well as helping clients develop their own personalized investment strategies.
This week, I sat down and interviewed Jean and Michael in order to learn more about their experiences in Halifax, a town currently undergoing major refurbishment:
Jean, what are the top 3 things that stood out to you during your trip to Halifax?
Firstly, the Square Chapel Arts Centre, which is a beautiful red brick building. I suppose it stood out most because there are very few buildings of its kind. Last time I visited it was just in the process of being opened. What I found interesting is that it is a combined chapel building with some kind of modern addition, which includes a cinema, theatre and music hall.
I particularly enjoyed its new, all-day terrace café which had an incredibly trendy vibe. I feel that the Chapel Centre will be particularly attractive to those in the arts industries as well as professionals and scholars. People visiting the centre will find it convenient to stay at the hotel, which is a short, two-minute walk away.
I particularly liked the new all day terrace café, which had a real city feel in trendy environment. I feel that the Chapel Centre will be particularly attractive to those in the arts industries as well as professionals and scholars. People visiting the centre will find it convenient to stay at the hotel, which is a 2 minute walk away.
The second site that stood out to me was ‘Piece Hall’, which is Yorkshire’s most important secular building. Dating back from 1779, it was originally a cloth trading hall. Today, this Grade-I listed property is one of Britain’s most outstanding Georgian buildings, serving not only as a trading hall, but also as a symbol of the most cultured sensitivities of the enlightenment, reflected through its distinct, neo-classical architectural design.
Piece Hall represents the history of its surrounding community, and is now undergoing a £19 million conservation and transformation programme to be completed in 2017, which will include upmarket shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and conference facilities. On its grand re-opening on 1st August, there will be free-to-attend events taking place across the square – these include performances from local musicians, children’s activities and pop-up food stalls.
It is a great time to invest in hotels within the area as tourists are bound to need somewhere close by to stay.
The third experience which really impressed me was dining at the hotel. The food was just delicious. We had a rib-eye steak with vegetables and the most impressive hand fried fresh onion rings, as well as sticky toffee pudding for desert. The service was great too! We had a situation where it was three of us and we all wanted to eat steak, but the restaurant only had two steaks available. To make up for the shortage, the restaurant manager offered me a free glass of the finest wine. Overall, we had an excellent dining experience and top it off, our rooms were very-generously sized.
What were the people in Halifax like?
They were very friendly and everyone had a warmth to them. I’m not sure how to describe them; let’s say they were ‘real’ people.
Halifax is very close to Manchester, the UK’s second city and third most popular tourist destination. How long did it take to travel to Manchester from Halifax, and was it an easy commute?
It took exactly 47 minutes to get to Manchester from Halifax and the station was only a 2 minute walk away from the hotel. I must add that we saw a lot of business people travelling between the Northern Corridor, going to Leeds/Bradford/Manchester/Huddersfield, and travelling up and down from London too. These business people are always going to need somewhere to stay, so the hotel would be a good option for them as it is located extremely close to the station.
Overall, how do you feel about the region of Halifax and what demographic would be well-suited to living or visiting the town?
I believe it would appeal to a cultured crowd as well as people who like the county. People within 100 miles would probably visit and want to stay overnight as it is a huge catchment area.
Any last words about your experience Jean?
Halifax is a fantastic town with beautiful views. It is near the Dales and the hills meaning there is plenty of green space and fresh air. The town is great for someone who loves nature and the outdoors, but wants to be close to restaurants, pubs, and other amenities within the main town centre.
It is quieter than the city, but this is a positive thing as people are actually more engaged with each other – it is not abnormal to find two strangers stopping and speaking to one another in the middle of the street. Also, it is good to know that it is only 10 mins from the town centre.