PROACTIVE APPROACH BY PROPERTY SERVICES FIRM BRINGS NEW LIFE TO TWO CITY CENTRE BUILDINGS

Published 18 July 2016

Two adjacent Norwich city centre office buildings are to be given a new lease of life, following some proactive negotiating by a Norwich-based property services firm.

Charles and Wensum Houses, at the eastern end of Prince of Wales Road, are set to be transformed into the latest free school to be run by the Inspiration Trust, after the Commercial team from Arnolds Keys drove through a deal which resulted in the buildings being sold for the second time in two years.

The buildings were initially bought at auction by a Nottingham-based investor after the former owner went into receivership.  With several of the tenants’ leases coming to an end, and knowing that the Inspiration Trust was seeking city centre premises for its new Charles Darwin Free School, Arnolds Keys approached the Nottingham property company to try to put a deal together.

A complex set of negotiations saw Arnolds Keys agreeing a changed user clause with Freeholder, The Trustees of the Great Hospital, negotiating lease determinations for the offices in the two buildings and agreeing a sale price.

As a result, the new school is due to open in Charles House in September 2016, and will occupy the adjacent Wensum House in September 2017.

“This is a good example of how a proactive approach from a property services firm can create a deal which works well for everybody,” said Robert Flint, head of Arnolds Keys’ Commercial Agency division.

“We were marketing the buildings to let, but we felt that there was a good opportunity for them to make an enhanced return by selling on the head lease. 

“Getting to the point where we had a deal which suited everybody concerned took some work, but it just goes to show that a proactive approach, combined with a little creativity, can sometimes achieve a great result.”

The Charles Darwin Primary School and Nursery will be the Inspiration Trust’s third city centre school; it also operates the Jane Austen College on Colegate, and the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in the old fire station on Bethel Street.

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