Monday, November 20, 2017

News: Former M&S building going under the hammer

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A prominent building in Rotherham town centre is set to be sold at auction next month.

27 - 29 College Street in Rotherham, known by many as the previous home of national retailer, Marks & Spencer, is listed with leading auctioneers, Acuitus for its next auction that will take place in London on December 7.

With 32,600 sq ft of "well configured and flexible retail accommodation" the freehold of the historic building has been given a guide price of £900,000. This is below the guide price of £977,000 given when the property went up for sale with agents Fawcett Mead earlier this year.

With eye-catching half mock timber and decorative Art Nouveau style windows above, the ground floor is let to Poundworld Retail Limited until 2021. Rothbiz reported first in 2011 that the discount retailer was taking on the vacant site. The sale documents show that the retailer pays a rent of £118,000 per annum for the Rotherham store under its Bargain Buys brand name.

The property is being advertised as having the potential to convert the self-contained vacant upper parts to residential which would echo similar plans in the area and meet the focus of the new masterplan. Town centre living is seen as critical to sustaining the long term health of the town centre and seen as important in achieving around the clock vitality and vibrancy.

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The previous agents for the property said: "The property provides one of the best large retail floorplates within Rotherham and enjoys a prominent frontage onto the pedestrianised College Street.

"The property is arranged to provide well configured and flexible retail sales accommodation at ground floor. Part of the upper floors are currently vacant and, in our opinion offer, potential for conversion to residential use (subject to planning)."

Plans were submitted earlier this month to convert the former Central Snooker Club, a club with an 80 year history, into five flats. The second floor of the nearby 38-40 College Street building has been empty for two years.

The nearby 2-6 Effingham Street has also recently gone up for sale. Described as an investment opportunity, it is being marketed by property firm, JLL with a guide price of £1.1m.

Whilst not a listed building, the property at 27 - 29 College Street is on Rotherham Civic Society's local list which compiles properties of architectural or historic interest.

The society states that: "This building is located on the site of the long established Grapes Inn Public House and bonded stores situated to the rear. In March 1920 the owner, the South Yorkshire Wine & Spirits Co. Ltd, received building consent from the former Rotherham Corporation to completely rebuild the Public House to the designs of James R. Wigfull, Architect, of Sheffield.

"In August 1932 building consent approval was given to a partial reconstruction of the building by inserting a new steel frame into the existing building and erecting a major steel framed and brick faced extension to the rear to provide warehousing for the new use of the building as a shop. The building re-opened as a branch of Marks & Spencer in March 1933, and has remained in retail use ever since."

M&S moved to a larger store at Parkgate Shopping in 2004. Before Poundworld moved in, first under the Discount UK name, the building was previously occupied by Hitchens.

Acuitus website

Images: Fawcett Mead

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