Transformation of former Mercy nightclub set to begin

Owner and developer, Ben James Smith, on the roof of the old Mercy nightclub which is to be turned i

Owner and developer, Ben James Smith, on the roof of the old Mercy nightclub which is to be turned into apartments. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The developer behind the regeneration of the former Mercy Nightclub has said the project will "awaken a sleeping giant" - as he sets his sights on topping the £1m mark for a penthouse sale.

Work to transform the former nightclub on Prince of Wales Road into more than 40 homes, office spaces and a gym will get under way in the coming weeks, in a £10.5m project expected to take around two years to complete.

And Ben James Smith, the owner of Estateducation, the developer behind the scheme, is confident four penthouses included in conversion could fetch a seven-figure sum once they are complete.

Owner and developer, Ben James Smith, with the grand entrance staircase of the old Mercy nightclub w

Owner and developer, Ben James Smith, with the grand entrance staircase of the old Mercy nightclub which he is going to turn into apartments. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


Mr Smith, who is also behind the redevelopment of the Ferry Boat pub, said work to clear the building would begin in the next few weeks, which will see the interior of the building gutted, as its days as an entertainment venue come to an end.

Also previously the ABC Cinema, the nightclub has been closed for more than two years, last welcoming revellers in 2018. But the project will return the building to its very first use.

Built in the 1800s, the site was originally residential apartments known as Alexandra Mansions, a name Mr Smith has decided to restore for the new development.

Owner and developer of the old Mercy nightclub, Ben James Smith, which he is going to turn into apar

Owner and developer of the old Mercy nightclub, Ben James Smith, which he is going to turn into apartments. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

He said: "There are some really beautiful buildings on Prince of Wales Road and this is no different. When I look at the outside I think of Harrods, but it is almost hidden behind the nightclub facade.


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"With this project, we're going to awaken a sleeping giant, which will help completely regenerate this whole part of the city."

The development will consider of 12 single-bedroom flats, 32 three-bedroom flats and four penthouses - the latter of which Mr Smith believes could sell for more than £1m.

The Mercy nightclub building which is to be turned into apartments. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Mercy nightclub building which is to be turned into apartments. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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He said: "Each of the four penthouses will have their own unique views of the city. One will give you a perfect view of Norwich Cathedral and I'm confident that one might end up selling for around £1.2m - more than the Westlegate Tower penthouse sold for.

"Lots of developers want to build on greenfield sites, but I love doing up old buildings, even if they end up as big jobs - and this one is definitely that."

The development will also see office space at the ground floor level, underground parking facilities, a gym and a coffee shop. 

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