A real estate firm is looking to deliver Dorchester's first build-to-rent project at a landmark site in the town centre.

RTI Estates Ltd, which is part of Dorchester-based property company Redtale Holdings - is set to convert offices at Vespasian House at the top o’ town.

It plans on creating 37 apartments for up to 144 people in an £11 million project as part of its ongoing regeneration of the historic Barrack Quarter area.

The office space will be converted into a mixture of one, two and three bed apartments including penthouse apartments in what is currently the loft.

RTI, which owns the freehold of the office complex and surrounding land, says its ai is to provide high quality, flexible short and long-term secure rental accommodation.

The repurposing of the building into family homes comes as NHS organisations based in the building are considering alternative arrangements to co-locate with local partners.

RTI chief executive Malcolm Curtis said: “Vespasian House is a key, brownfield site in a highly sustainable location in Dorchester town centre.

“We have been advised by the NHS that they are looking at alternative arrangements to co-locate with local partners.

“With their departure, we have looked at how we can repurpose the building in a positive way for the community and local economy as part of our wider ongoing regeneration of the Barrack Quarter.

“We are exploring the possibility of delivering rental homes, with flexible leases from six months up to five years that provide families not only high quality modern sustainable homes but also provide flexible and secure tenures not normally associated with the rental sector. 

“We believe that with demand for rental properties being so high, this would be an ideal, long-term sustainable repurposing of Vespasian House.

“Being so close to the nearby hospital, transport links and all the town centre amenities, it would further support the revitalisation of Dorchester town centre and make a valuable contribution to the chronic under supply of rental homes in the county town.”

The scheme is part of its urban regeneration of Dorchester’s historic Barrack Quarter at the top o’ town.

This has already included a £2.4m development of Barrack House in the northwest corner of the site with nine key worker apartments let to NHS workers and their families.

It has also converted former quartermaster’s stores into five townhouses and two apartments.

RTI has notified Dorset Council of its intention to convert the entire building and loft of Vespasian House under permitted development rights where the change of use is already acceptable in principle.

As reported, It has previously gained planning consent for a residential extension to Vespasian House and a mixed-used building with apartments and commercial space. These plans are unaffected by the plans for further accommodation.

Conversion of Vespasian House would include parking and the property developers say they are keen to focus on sustainability of all its developments, including low and zero carbon technologies.