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See inside former MJB hotel following £1.5m transformation to new housing scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:36 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:03 09 March 2020

Ben James has developed a fromer MJB hotel on Unthank road into luxury shared accomodation. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Ben James has developed a fromer MJB hotel on Unthank road into luxury shared accomodation. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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A former MJB hotel in Norwich has been transformed into a co-living housing scheme following a £1.5m investment from a prolific property developer.

Ben James has developed a fromer MJB hotel on Unthank road into shared accomodation called the district. Picture: Ella WilkinsonBen James has developed a fromer MJB hotel on Unthank road into shared accomodation called the district. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Bristol House, on Unthank Road, was sold to Estateducation in September 2017, having previously been run by the controversial hotel company. It was purchased for £825,000 and following a £700,000 renovation is preparing to welcome its first tenants in the coming weeks under the new name of The District.

Once a hotel complete with black walls, the Victorian house is now a 26-bedroom co-living development, consisting of private bedrooms and en-suite and a variety of shared facilities. Among these facilities are a cinema room, four large kitchens, a gym and utility rooms with washing machines. An extension has been built to the rear of the house and the black has been replaced with bright and vibrant feature walls.

Ben James Smith, chief investor of Estateducation, said: "We've named it The District because it is all about a sense of community and belonging. It is very much a London-style concept that we're hoping there will be a real demand for in Norwich.

"Our target market is young, working professionals looking for somewhere modern and I've always wanted to do something different like this."

Brsitol House has been transformed from a run down former MJB hotel into shared accomodation with a cinema and a gym. Picture: Ella WilkinsonBrsitol House has been transformed from a run down former MJB hotel into shared accomodation with a cinema and a gym. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The concept will see tenants paying £650 for their fully-furnished room and access to the shared facilities, with the rent amount also including the cost of wi-fi and a television in the room.

Mr Smith added: "This concept has not really been done before in Norwich but I think it could really work - I think there's a huge demand for something like this.

"I think if something is done nicely then people will tend to look after it. We will be looking for people to stay at least six months at a time - if not longer.I think we've done really well with the place, particularly considering how it was when we took it on. I'm really proud of the project as a whole."

The renovation comes a year after the company took on another of the former MJB hotels, the Lodge, which is now known as Number 82.


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