Brighton and Hove City Council has sold its former seafront headquarters for more than £26 million, it was announced this afternoon (Thursday 20 July).
King’s House, in Kingsway, is expected to be turned into housing once planning permission has been given.
Council leader Warren Morgan told a meeting of the full council at Hove Town Hall: “I am pleased to announce that contracts have been exchanged to sell the freehold of King’s House for £26,125,000.
“As members will be aware, the grade II listed building located on Hove seafront was formerly occupied by the council but as part of the rationalisation of the council’s offices was vacated in October 2016, with staff relocated to Hove Town Hall and Bartholomew House, Brighton.
“The disposal will deliver a significant capital receipt for the council.
“Selling King’s House will save us £2 million a year in operating costs, with money already invested in better customer services for residents both online and in Hove Town Hall.
“The disposal was agreed following an extensive marketing campaign undertaken by Cushman and Wakefield.
“This generated interest from over 500 parties and approaching 40 offers when bids were called for in May 2017.
“The marketing confirmed there was no interest from office users but strong demand from residential developers seeing the potential of this landmark building to deliver a high-quality housing development.
“The disposal is the first stage in the building being brought back into beneficial use.
“The purchaser, Mortar Nova Grand Avenue, is a joint venture development vehicle between local developer Rego Property and London-based Pacific Investments, their intention being to bring forward a planning application for residential conversion and development over the coming months.
“This is more good news for the council’s finances and demonstrates that we were right to make the decision to withdraw from the previous sale agreement that we as an administration inherited.
“We have sold this asset for more than anticipated. As a result we will have more money to invest.
“The money is going to be in the council’s bank account sooner than expected, meaning any uncertainty is now concluded.
“We have delivered a better deal for the taxpayer and, as a result, a greater investment in council services.
“I’m sure all members will want to thank officers for their work on this and applaud this success for the council and the city.”