City College Brighton and Hove has sold its Preston Road annexe to a Sussex property business to turn into housing.
The buyer, Aligned Property, based in Cuckfield, has engaged Yelo Architects, of Marine Parade, Brighton, to design “a sympathetic and high-quality conversion”.
Aligned Property director Yvette Taylor said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to redevelop such an iconic building within the city.
“Working alongside the great team at Oakley (commercial estate agents) and Yelo Architects, our aim is to create a unique scheme of residential units in keeping with the history of the building.”
The 1880 building was originally Preston Road School, designed by Thomas Simpson, architect and surveyor to the Brighton and Preston School Board and the Hove School Board. It sits on the corner of Dyke Road Drive, close to Preston Park.
City College’s chief operating officer Jon Rollings said: “The successful sale of this building is an important part of our property strategy, allowing us to consolidate our educational provision on to our main sites and releasing funds for continuing investment in improving our facilities.”
Oakley Commercial director Steven Harvey said: “It has been a privilege to act on behalf of City College Brighton and Hove on the sale of this unique imposing property and achieving an exceptional result for our clients.
“The level of interest in this building from both occupiers and developers underlines the strong economy we are seeing across the city.”
Oakley said that more than 40 inspections of the Preston Road site resulted from its marketing campaign.
As a result, several offers were received at the tender date and the freehold property was sold for more than the – undisclosed – guide price.
For years, plumbers learnt their trade in Preston Road before the new construction trades centre was built at the City College campus in Wilson Avenue, Whitehawk.
The sale will save City College at least £26,000 a year in business rates and rent to Network Rail for part of the site in the shadow of the railway viaduct.
The disposal is part of a property rationalisation by City College which has been working on plans to redevelop its main Pelham Street campus.
The college said: “Initial work has been undertaken to develop a scheme consisting of a complete refurbishment of the existing Pelham Tower alongside a linked new-build component, housing a Centre for the Creative Industries to train the next generation of talent for the city’s burgeoning creative, digital and IT sector.
“An application to provide partial funding for the scheme was made to the Local Growth Fund (LGF) administered by the local enterprise partnership (LEP) Coast to Capital in spring 2016.
“The college has now been informed by the LEP that the scheme does not form part of their submission to the government for LGF funding.
“The college remains committed to redevelopment of the site and is reviewing options to progress a scheme which meets its aspirations without LGF support.”