Fancy a statement property with period features? There are a wealth of opportunities on the market
Posted: 23 September 2016
If you are in the market for a period property, something just a little bit special, then there's a feast of opportunities currently available.
Leisure, office and residential investment appears to be the order of the day, with recent instructions in the area including The Pier, Cleethorpes, The Knoll, which looks out towards it, Grimsby's St Mary's Chambers and Fryston House all available if the price is right.
And with Lindsey Lower School's transformation into a high-quality care facility winning rave reviews from those who have been in it, an investment deal completing on Grimsby's Palace Buffet, and many purring at Liz Parry's Curious Cat as it celebrates a first year of trading beside Guy Kemp's Cycle Mode success, there are a clutch of successful examples of what can be achieved.
Lawrence Brown, managing partner at Scotts, has his boards on several new to market premises, while acting for the original developers behind Palace Buffet.
"If the building is in the right position and has the potential to serve a practical use, the fact it is aesthetically pleasing helps in terms of marketing because they do have the detailing. If you wanted to achieve this with a new building it would cost a lot of money.
"Some of these older, classic buildings do come with challenges. Rooms are often smaller, there may be more internal corridors and energy efficiency can come into play. There are challenges, but if you can find the right building, sat in the right position, and the general lay out works and suits the use, whether that is conversion to retail, office, residential or whatever, it may well work and provide quite a grand looking, resplendent statement.
"It just needs an individual to see the merit. It certainly helps retain the heritage of the area. Bringing buildings back into use, if a building can be re-used, is great."
Referring to some personal successes, which he now hopes to replicate, Mr Brown said: "Palace Buffet is going strong, is fully let, and a sale is hopefully underway. We sold the Lindsey Lower School to Yorcare homes and that is an absolutely fantastic job, unbelievable. I spent a lot of time going round that, advising the local authority, then carrying out viewings with interested parties. A lot of effort went in to choosing it, and it wasn't down to who had the highest bid, it was the best for retaining the asset and providing something needed in the area.
"At the moment we are selling Fryston House for North East Lincolnshire Council. It stands well, is beautiful inside, some of the original features are absolutely stunning in terms of carved timber and glazing. I think it would make a fantastic boutique hotel in that location."
St Mary's Chambers, soon to be vacated by law firm Wilkin Chapman as it moves to Cartergate, was for years home to Grange Wintringham Solicitors, acquired back in 2010. It is one of the oldest buildings in Grimsby but the enhancements through the years have impressed Mr Brown, tasked with finding a new owner.
"We have just put that on and it is another fantastic building that has been extended in the fairly recent past. The extension has been done so sympathetically that it forms part of a really striking building.
"Historically it was a doctor's surgery, and there are all sorts of opportunities there. There is a car park with it, and a lot of opportunities to carry out conversions are often restricted because there is little or no car parking. This could be residential, and office development as is. I could see quality town centre living because of the car parking."
Mr Brown said other examples were the former court house in Brighowgate and The Queen's Hotel on the corner of Cambridge Road and Sea View Street.
The Knoll, in the near neighbourhood, is a lease, with the ground floor available. This summer it welcomed then Prime Minister David Cameron and the Duke of Kent, as it became the focus for the salute at the resort's proud hosting of National Armed Forces Day.
While Mr Brown can't guarantee quite such a welcome, he sees the potential in the prestige.
"There is opportunity there, it sits in a fantastic position on one of the highest points in the resort, overlooking the rest of Cleethorpes. It is a grand building."
First Published on Humberbusiness.com 23.09.16