Mystery buyer of former pub reveals £7m homes plan for derelict site

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development of 41 homes called 'King's Bank'. Ben Smith, Chief investor at Estateducation Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The mystery buyer of a pub once at the centre of the city’s live music scene can be revealed - along with details of a £7m plan to transform the site into housing.

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development of 41 homes called 'King's Bank'. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The Ferry Boat on King Street in Norwich was once a go-to place for aspiring musicians, but has not been a pub for more than a decade.

After a brief stint as a backpacker lodge, the site is now derelict and has become a blot on the city’s riverside horizon, having seen a previous bid to develop it fail to materialise.

But in October 2019, Norwich-based homebuilder Estateducation Ltd agreed to pay more than £1.2m for the site and has this week started work on a £7m regeneration that will add 41 new homes - including two inside the former pub - known as King’s Bank.

Ben James Smith, Estateducation’s chief investor, said: “Our hope is that once we are finished it will really complete the riverside area of the city.

Norwich -- Rivers
Pat Ellice and Jeff davies beside a crumbling quay at on the River Wensum at the

Norwich -- Rivers Pat Ellice and Jeff davies beside a crumbling quay at on the River Wensum at the Ferry Boat Inn, Norwich Dated -- 4 August 1993 Photograph -- c9472


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“You look along the street and it is all fairly new and gentrified and then there’s this place, which is a just an absolute blot. This would be like the last piece of the jigsaw.”

The investment will see a five-storey tower built on the former pub car park consisting of 39 properties, ranging from studio apartments to four-bedroom townhouses.

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Work has begun on clearing the site, with an archeological survey to be carried out, before building can start. Mr Smith said he hoped construction would be complete by early 2022, with properties appearing on the market in around a year.

The development will also see a medieval arch preserved and incorporated into the building’s courtyard.

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development

The former Ferry Boat Inn pub in Norwich has finally been bought - and is going to be a development of 41 homes called 'King's Bank'. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Mr Smith added: “The development will be what I call ‘massical’ - modern alongside classic.

“The place is completely run down at the moment and lots of developers would probably see it as too much of a job, but I see these places and I see an opportunity.

“I don’t see it as a gamble. Norwich has a shortage of housing and even with the economy on pause at the moment, we’re looking at 18 months time.”

The properties will be marketed at £140,000 for the cheapest studio and £515,000 for the largest townhouses.

Norwich -- Pubs
The Ferry Boat, King Street
Dated -- 9 August 1993
Photograph C1842 Folkes

Norwich -- Pubs The Ferry Boat, King Street Dated -- 9 August 1993 Photograph C1842 Folkes

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation - Credit: Estateducation

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation - Credit: Estateducation

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation

CGI of what King's Bank on the former Ferry Boat site will look like. Picture: Estateducation - Credit: Estateducation

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