AFTER years of delays new flats at the Newport Art College are finally to go on sale this week.

A total of 66 one- and twobedroom apartments will be put on the market by agents Savills this Saturday – with homes priced from £69,995 to £115,000.

The Argus has taken a sneak peek around the finished flats ahead of their official opening on Friday.

The starting price is much lower than estimates given in 2007 – when one-bedroom flats were expected to go for £129,000.

The site does not include the original swimming-pool, gym and sauna promised by the previous developers.

The building is Grade II listed and this means that the communal areas have been kept as they were originally.

Lisa Howells, head of residential development sales at agents Savills in Cardiff, said the green tiles that line the central hallway “couldn’t be bought off the shelf” and were hand-crafted, while the Terrazzo stone flooring was restored by a specialist.

The rooms are a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are designed as “mezzanine”

flats – meaning that the bedroom overlooks the livingarea on a platform, with a single tall window letting light into the home.

The green copper dome at the top of the building has been converted into a wide circular room that has kitchen units installed and is large enough to be used as a lounge area.

Residents of Newport can see the flats for themselves on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am until 5pm.

Building’s troubled history

THE restoration of the century- old Newport Art College is long awaited – with the building having become derelict in the 1990s.

The Newport Technical Institute, as it was then, was officially opened in September 1910 by then Newport mayor William Blackburn.

The building was described at the time as a remarkable example of early-20th-century architecture in “the modern classic style”.

It continued as the Newport and Monmouthshire College of Art in 1958, but the art school moved to Caerleon in the 1990s.

Left empty, the building became rat-infested and was hit by a succession of arson attacks.

Plans emerged in 2003 to turn it into 63 flats with four penthouse apartments – but work didn’t begin to safeguard the site until 2007.

The previous owners faced financial troubles, though, and the building was taken on by receivers, under whom the redevelopment has been completed.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Homes to be proud of

LOOKING at our pictures on page five today, it’s hard to believe that the scheme to refurbish the former art college in Newport was ever enveloped in such controversy.

For years, plans to transform the building have been on and off. Much of that was out of anyone’s hands as the worldwide financial crisis took hold.

But look at them now. The apartments, in which we had a sneak peek, would not look out of place in any of the UK’s major cities like London or Manchester.

They say everything about a city that should be looking to the future, not the past.

With the building being a landmark in Newport, anything less than what has been done to it would have been a shame.

Of course, during last decade when this project was one of the focal points of the complete regeneration of the city centre, things were a lot different.

But what we can learn from the art college and schemes like Friars Walk is that Newport is still very much a city that is determined to come out of the global recession ready to capitalise on the boom times we should expect to see once again.

It will be interesting to see how fast theses flats sell given the problems in the housing market as the moment, but we still believe this is a scheme that should make everyone in the city proud to be part of.