The Phoenix Yard at 5 to 9 Upper Brown Street, Leicester is a mixed-use commercial development that originally comprised approximately 29,000 square feet. Three semi-derelict Victorian hosiery mills have been refurbished and linked around a courtyard by contemporary bridges, walkways, and entrances. The courtyard is entered via a double height original Victorian brick archway. To the North side of the Courtyard is the head office of MNE Accounting Ltd. Tim Emmony’s rapidly growing firm of East Midlands based Accountants. To the South is a new Coffee & Gelato outlet. Opening later in 2021 this yet to be named Italian themed eatery makes use of the space formerly occupied by the Tinseltown Restaurant – an American Diner offering burgers and milkshakes.
To the West one of the original mill buildings was sold in 2016 and is now in residential use. The upper floors of the other two original mill buildings have been converted into modern office accommodation occupied by four different end users. The Centre for Enterprise is a not for profit research organisation. The Learning Support Centre Limited supports learners in Higher Education with Special Needs. Sentle Limited develop specialist IT Applications. Whilst Reed in Partnership Limited run a Driving Test Theory Test Centre on behalf of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Purpose of the Development
The purpose of the development was to bring back to life some attractive Victorian Mills that had ceased to have any viable industrial purpose. The Leicester Social Economy Consortium wished to create a long-term source of revenue for its members whilst simultaneously contributing towards the Urban Regeneration of the so called “Phoenix Quarter” of Leicester. Subsequent schemes in Newarke Street, and Lower Brown Street have resulted in all of the large number of previously vacant and redundant industrial buildings, and sites in the immediate vicinity, being brought back into productive use. The ‘Stibbe Lofts’ and the offices of Voluntary Action Leicestershire being two particularly prominent examples of long vacant buildings in the area brought back into use following the creation of the Phoenix Yard. Its effects have been catalytic.