2020’s biggest pub property stories
In the final pub property round-up of 2020 The MA looked back on 20 of the biggest deals, revamps and reopenings covered in the past 12 months.
Recap the biggest property stories from 2020 here.
Pub ‘vanished’ roughly once every 20 hours during 2020
Some 446 pubs ‘vanished’ from communities in England and Wales last year, equating to an average of 37 a month, new figures show.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), analysis of Government data by real estate adviser Altus Group showed the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, liable for business rates, including those vacant and being offered to let, fell to 40,617 on 31 December – down 446 (6%) compared with 41,063 on 31 December 2019.
Pubs that ‘disappeared’ have either been demolished and/or converted into other uses such as homes and offices with the rate also down 51% on 914 in 2018.
Altus Group head of property tax Robert Hayton said: “Pubs and restaurants bore the brunt of coronavirus restrictions in 2020 but proved remarkably resilient aided by Government interventions such as furlough, grants, rates relief and liquidity in the form of cheap loans.”
Read more here.
Flight Club to land in Bristol
As reported by The MA’s sister title MCA Insight, Red Engine-backed competitive socialising concept Flight Club is poised to open a new site in Bristol later this year – with a launch date still to be confirmed.
The new site will be Flight Club’s first in the city and will join the concepts estate of sites comprising venues in Birmingham, Manchester, and a quartet in London.
“We absolutely love Bristol and hope to bring Social Darts and some unexpected, ridiculous joy to the South West in 2021,” a Flight Club spokesperson told Bristol Live.
“Once everything’s finalised, we’ll be sure to share more updates on what we’ve got in store for Corn Street.
“Each Flight Club is completely unique, so we can’t wait to bring this to life when the time’s right.”
Pandemic more than halves number of freehold and leasehold pub transactions
The pub property market’s Covid symptoms include plummeting sales values and volume according to Fleurets’ Survey of Pub Prices 2020.
According to the leisure property specialist’s annual report, the average price of a trading freehold pub fell by a third (34.7%) to £567,500 during the Covid-19 pandemic while the average leasehold pub price plummeted by 46% to £30,769.
These figures come after the average trading freehold price and leasehold prices respectively rose by 8.3% and 10.2% during the six months to March 2020.
In the freehold market, Fleurets’ survey found transaction volumes fell by 54% following the coronavirus outbreak compared to the previous six months and that quality of assets purchased slipped as demonstrated by a 25% decrease in average fair maintainable trade (FMT) of pubs sold.
The story was similar in the leasehold market, which saw a 25% drop in FMT and post-Covid activity dropping by a massive 82% against 2019 volume. “A higher proportion of leasehold units are wet led and in town and city centres and these areas have been most adversely affected by the pandemic,” the report explained.
Read more here.
Developer pledges £100,000 to pop-up gay bar as condition of pub revamp plans
According to reports by The Guardian, a property developer has committed £100,000 to create a “pop-up LGBT+ bar” in a bid to provide an inclusive space during the demolition and redevelopment of the Joiners Arms in Tower Hamlets, east London.
The venue was bought and closed in 2015 by Regal London, which has seen development plans delayed by six-years and said it will offer the six-figure sum so that a new bar could open as soon as possible.
The £100,000 committed to the temporary LGBT+ space brings the total budget for the Joiners Arms redevelopment to £238,000.
“It is very unusual,” Regal planning director Steve Harrington told The Guardian. “We have had a lot of workshops over Zoom with the Friends of the Joiners Arms and got to know them, and the importance of protecting the Joiners, and we want to do our part. We are fantastically proud of the outcome.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs, added: “I’m pleased that through our innovative planning policies we were able to protect an LGBT+ space at the site of the Joiners Arms when Tower Hamlets council approved the application in 2018.
“I’m now keen to see things progress on the site as soon as possible, and that means finding a viable scheme that develops the building and delivers this LGBT+ venue so – as we recover from Covid-19 – Tower Hamlets is at the forefront of celebrating its diverse community and being a place people want to visit.
“In the meantime, we will work with the Greater London Authority to see if we can find a temporary home for the Friends of the Joiners Arms.’’
New leaseholders to take on ‘illegally destroyed’ Carlton Tavern
As reported by The MA, a London pub that was 'illegally knocked down' will reopen this year after new leaseholders have been found.
In 2016, Westminster City Council won its battle to have the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, north-west London, rebuilt after developer CTLX reduced it to rubble in April 2015 without planning permission.
The five-day enquiry took place in May 2016, after the developers tried to fight an enforcement order the council originally placed on it to rebuild the pub – with evidence heard from local campaign groups, residents, councillors and Historic England.
The planning inspector dismissed the appeals lodged by the developers and ruled in favour of the council, giving CLTX two years to rebuild the pub.
Read more here.
Lunar Pub Company announces Ganymede launch
London-based pub operator, the Lunar Pub Company – whose estate currently features South Kensington venue the Hunter’s Moon – has announced plans to launch a new 30-cover bar and 46-cover dining room in Belgravia in April 2021.
Named after the largest moon of Jupiter and the third largest celestial being in the solar system, Ganymede will serve modern-European cuisine.
Speaking to The MA in August 2019, Lunar Pub Company co-founder Hubert Beatson-Hird said he aimed to gradually grow the nascent pub company’s estate across the capital.
“We are quite ambitiously hoping for two in two years,” he said, “but our focus is first building a really strong infrastructure with site one so we can grow organically, responsibly and most importantly develop our team so they all have real career progression.
“It will realistically be three to four years for the next two, and each of the new sites will again be food focused, however it would be good to have some site diversity.
“Maybe having a second with a private function room and a third with a healthy sized garden.”
Greene King and Star extend 90% rent concessions
Both Greene King and Star Pubs & Bars have announced continued rent concessions throughout January in light of the most recent raft of Covid-19 restrictions.
Greene King Pub Partners said it has written to 1,000 tenants to confirm the discounts and estimated its total financial aid since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year now totals more than £25m.
Greene King, which operates about 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland, also stated the concessions are in place for pubs regardless of whether they are offering a takeaway service or not.
The MA understands Greene King is dealing with its free-of-tie tenants on an individual basis.
What’s more, Heineken’s pub arm Star Pubs & Bars said it would also continue to keep its continued rent concessions under constant review and will depend on any Government policy alterations.
It estimated the latest round of rent reduction means Star has invested more than £44m since the first national lockdown last March.
Star managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “The Prime Minister needs to help pubs weather the months ahead by working with our sector on a roadmap to recovery."
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