Grand city centre building finally sells to local firm
PUBLISHED: 07:56 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 20 November 2019
One of Norwich’s most impressive buildings which has been boarded up and for sale for more than a year has been snapped up by a local engineering firm.
Hardwick House, Agricultural Hall Plain, which has been empty since September 2018, has been sold to Create Consulting, spearheaded by Jonathan Cage, who is also president of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce. The building was for sale for £1.6m but sold for an undisclosed sum.
The grand neo-classical property, built in 1866 in Bath stone originally as a bank and later taken over by the Post Office, was vacated by commercial tenants, property agents Savills when they moved to new modern offices in St Andrew's Hill.
The building, at the top of Prince of Wales Road, considered one of the city's most architecturally superb, was then boarded up to avoid break-ins and seemed destined to remain empty because of its high price-tag and lack of modern amenities such as car-parking. A previous sale to an investor fell through when Savills - which was paying rent of £130,000 a year - moved out.
Will Jones, partner and head of Norwich commercial at agents Bidwells, told this newspaper: "We can confirm Hardwick House has been sold to Create Consulting, it is good news for Norwich as it has been on the market for just over a year."
Create Consulting is a specialist engineering firm providing a range of technical services to the construction and property industry, established in 2009 by Mr Cage, a chartered engineer, and currently based in Princes Street. The firm later opened a second office in Norwich, housing its administration team, and expanded further with a central London office and then in Braintree, Glasgow and Chelmsford. It operates different services in areas including energy, transport, highways and air quality. Projects Create has worked on include the sustainable re-development of Sheringham and Dersingham primary schools as well as providing technical input for a planning application for 106 dwellings on land at the former RAF Watton.
Hardwick House comes with large open plan offices in its basement, ground and first floors, a penthouse apartment with a garage and ground rent from 23 apartments created at the rear.
Mr Cage was unavailable for comment.