Hardwick House in Norwich up for sale - and already is under offer
- Credit: Archant
One of Norwich's landmark buildings, Hardwick House, is on the market and an offer has already been made close to the £1.6million price tag.
One of Norwich's landmark buildings, Hardwick House, is up for sale and already under offer with an investor willing to pay close to its £1.6 million price tag.
The grand neo-classical stone structure, which presides over Agricultural Hall Plain, at the top of Prince of Wales Road, is considered one of the city's most architecturally elaborate buildings.
It is for sale with 7776 sq ft of commercial space, most of which is currently leased by country house agents Savills, as well as a three bedroom penthouse and the ground rents from 23 long leasehold flats. It also comes with planning permission to create two one bedroom flats in the basement.
With Savills' rent at £130,000 per annum and the ground rent from the flats, the annual rental income comes to £134,600.
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The sale has been handled by Bidwells in London. William Jones, head of Bidwells' commercial department in Norwich, said Hardwick House was put on the market towards the end of last year. 'It had pretty good interest and went under offer at the end of the year.' He confirmed that the buyer, an investor, was not local.
Interestingly, as part of its enfranchisement provisions, when the building ever comes up for sale, the freehold has, by law, to be offered for purchase to the tenants of the residential flats. Mr Jones said this had a deadline looming and that if no tenant came forward or they didn't decide to purchase it together, it was expected the investor sale would go ahead.
The other question mark hangs over whether Savills will vacate or not. The agents moved in to Hardwick House in 2008 and their lease doesn't expire until 2023 – however they do have a 'break' option to come out this October. To do so, they need to confirm it in writing six months before the deadline – so by April 9 this year.
David Merrick, head of Savills Norwich office, said: 'Like all commercial operations we regularly review our requirements when it comes to office space. It may well be that we stay where we are in Hardwick House which is a prominent and striking building. If we were to move it would be to an office that provides us with the same space and the opportunity to work in a more flexible environment.'
Hardwick House was designed by Philip Hardwick and it opened in January 1866 as Harvey and Hudson's Crown Bank. Four years later the bank collapsed and its owner Sir Robert Harvey had amassed debts of £400,000, later killing himself in the garden of his home in Crown Point, Trowse. The Post Office took over the former bank and was there for almost a century.