[Press Release] Local Development Company, NooKo, Unveils Ambitious Project in City Centre

[Exeter, October 2023]

NooKo, a dynamic local development company founded by James Porter, Max Sayers, and Courtney Manning, is poised to breathe new life into one of Exeter’s most iconic historical landmarks—Paternoster House. 

This transformative project aims to restore the former Victorian department store, situated at the corner of Fore Street and North Street, to its former glory while creating a vibrant urban space that seamlessly combines luxury living and versatile commercial opportunities.

Paternoster House, constructed in the 1880s as Exeter’s very first department store, holds a cherished place in the city’s history. Over the years, it has hosted a variety of businesses, including Brock’s furniture, booksellers, stationers, and the Cornish corner shop. In 1991, the iconic building became home to Snappy Snaps, operating as a photography retailer until its relocation in 2018, following which the space was repurposed for temporary uses like an art gallery.

Prior to NooKo’s acquisition of Paternoster House, the company collaborated closely with Grenadier Estates, Exeter City Council, and consultants to secure planning permission for a transformation that will encompass 28 luxury flats and a versatile commercial arrangement with storage areas in the basement.

The visionary redevelopment of Paternoster House retains the 28 high-end apartments, designed to appeal to young professionals in search of an elegant, cosmopolitan New York loft-style living experience. These apartments will feature a communal roof terrace, offering breathtaking vistas that encompass Exeter Cathedral, Haldon Belvedere, and the distant beauty of Dartmoor National Park. The ground and lower ground floors, spanning a substantial 10,000 square feet, will provide expansive commercial space, marking one of the city’s largest retail areas.

Max Sayers, Director of NooKo, expressed the company’s profound reverence for Paternoster House’s historical significance, stating, “We are deeply committed to the restoration of Paternoster House, with the goal of recapturing its 1880s splendour while embracing modern building techniques and sophisticated design.”

Sayers continued, “This development transcends mere project status for us; it represents a dedication to preserving the building’s rich history and its unique architectural features, including the original floors, exquisite sandstone window openings, exposed roof trusses, and brick walls. We remain steadfast in our commitment to sustainability, incorporating recycled materials and energy-efficient technologies, such as solar arrays in each apartment. The property will provide an ideal haven for individuals seeking an elegant, cosmopolitan living experience in the city’s heart.”

Adam Friend, Director of Francis Louis, enthusiastically added, “Paternoster House represents an exciting project, and we are thrilled to be part of it. Our passion for investing in Exeter drives our collaboration with NooKo to market and lease the 28 apartments.”

NooKo emphasizes the significance of uniting high-quality residential and adaptable commercial spaces, with plans to divide the ground floor into one to three units. The company actively seeks ethical, environmentally responsible tenants for the commercial space, aiming to create a synergy that benefits both the commercial and residential facets of Paternoster House. The offering of up to 10,000 square feet of versatile space is expected to generate strong interest among companies seeking an impressive statement property with exceptional foot traffic.

NooKo’s ambitious Paternoster House redevelopment project aspires not only to restore a historic gem but also to make a positive impact on the local community. The company recognizes Paternoster House’s potential as a catalyst for redevelopment in the surrounding Exeter area, fostering economic growth and creating job opportunities for local tradespeople.

As a socially responsible entity, NooKo, from its inception, has pledged unwavering support for the EDP-Trust, a dedicated family-run charity with a mission to build a fee-free secondary school for underprivileged children in Ghana, West Africa. The redevelopment of Paternoster House aligns seamlessly with the company’s broader mission to contribute to the betterment of both local and international communities.

For media inquiries and further details on the Paternoster House redevelopment project, please contact: Stephanie Carroll, Social Media & Press Coordinator: stephanie@nooko.co.uk


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