Property round-up

Five Points ‘committing to Hackney’, JDW plans £5m cinema conversion

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been revamped or changed hands in the past week?

Related tags Essex Jd wetherspoon London Buckinghamshire Oakman Group

The latest round of pub property news includes updates from Five Points, Oakman Inns, and JD Wetherspoon.

Five Points exceeds East London expansion crowdfunding target

East London-based Five Points Brewing Company has reached its crowdfunding target and is now overfunding in search of investment to build a new brewery and taproom in the heart of Hackney. 

Five Points hit their initial target of £350,000 within seven days, and plan to continue with the investment round until 20 May. Investors receive shares in the company as well as a range of discounts and unique investor experiences. 

Due to launch in September, the new indoor taproom will host visitor tours and guided beer tastings, include a mezzanine viewing gallery, and will have a large outdoor area for open-air hospitality. 

The outdoor Taproom is currently open on a pop-up basis, as the hospitality industry re-opens from Lockdown.

“Covid-19 has been incredibly challenging for the hospitality and brewing industry and forced all of us to examine our business models and what we do,” Ed Mason, co-founder and managing director of Five Points, said. 

“Here at Five Points, we are doubling down on our East London location, building a brand-new combined brewery and distribution centre and, excitingly, create what will be Hackney’s largest on-site brewery taproom, just a stone's throw from London Fields and Bethnal Green.

"We are delighted to be committing to Hackney and have exciting plans to grow as we build back from the challenges of Covid-19,” he continued. “We have been gobsmacked by the level of support from our existing investors and local community and are excited to be welcoming people back to drink tank-fresh beer right where it’s brewed."

Five Points

Boom: Battle Bar to open Wandsworth venue 

According to reports by Retail and Leisure International​, experiential bar operator Boom: Battle Bar will open a new site at property developer Greenland UK’s new Ram Quarter project in southwest London.

The new bar – which will combine cocktails, craft beers and street food with a range of indoor gaming experiences. – will open later in 2021 on the 10,000 sq ft development after taking a 15-year lease. 

Boom’s move to Ram Quarter sees the operator add to existing venues in Cardiff and Norwich, as it strives towards a target of nine bars across the UK. 

“Boom is a concept unlike any the residents of Wandsworth will have experienced,” Elliott Shuttleworth, CEO of Boom: Battle Bar, said. “There’s a real buzz about the reopening of London’s nightlife, and we can’t wait to get people back together and give them a night out to remember at Ram Quarter.” 

ETM Group founders seek £4.3m for new bar venture

The founders of London-based ETM Group are aiming to raise £4.3m to fund new seven-site venture, Maven Leisure. 

The new operation, led by Ed Martin and the management team of ETM Group – founded by Ed and Tom Martin – is aiming to open seven new sites across the capital – including a flagship rooftop bar in King William Street.

Maven will use £4.3m in new finance from private equity investment firm Growthdeck, raised as a mix of debt and equity, to fund the refurbishment and reopening costs for the group’s first three bars and restaurants.  

Alongside the King William Street site, the business is also in advanced negotiations for two further venues. 

Read more here


JDW roll new plans to turn former cinema into £5m pub 

According to reports by Essex Live​, new plans to turn a historic former cinema in Grays, Essex – which appeared in the blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit?​ – into one of JD Wetherspoon's (JDW) largest pubs have been submitted.

Plans initially approved by Thurrock Council were abandoned by JDW after they said the amount of work required to follow through with them made the project "unviable". 

However, fresh plans have been submitted to turn the empty cinema into a huge pub, complete with a beer garden.

Speaking to Essex Live​, councillor Mark Coxshall, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "I am delighted Wetherspoon’s have now submitted new applications. 

"These have been validated this week and will be going out to public consultation imminently.

"There has been a great deal of work behind the scenes to get this project back on track and ensure the State is returned to its former glory at the heart of Grays Town Centre.

"This is great news for the regeneration of Grays, for the economy of the borough, and shows that despite the hardship of the last 14 months Thurrock is still open for business." 

Last year, JD Wetherspoon said that the pub will cost £5m to build and will see 100 new full-time and part-time jobs created.

“We are as keen as ever to open our pub in Grays,” a JD Wetherspoon spokesperson said of the project.

"We believe that the pub will be a great asset to the area and also a perfect opportunity to restore one of the town’s best-known buildings." 

Six pubs demolished or converted per week during coronavirus pandemic

Some 384 pubs – on average six per week – have ‘vanished’ during the Covid-19 pandemic so far, having either been demolished or converted for different use, according to new figures from Altus Group. 

According to the real estate adviser’s research, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called last orders in pubs, restaurants and cafes on 20 March 2020 in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus there were 40,886 pubs in England and Wales – including those vacant and being offered to let. 

However, in light of three national lockdowns and tiered local restrictions over the last 14 months, that number has fallen by 1% to 40,502, with a total of 384 sites shuttered. 

“Pubs have endured a torrid time during the pandemic but have proved remarkably resilient aided by Government interventions such as furlough, grants, rates relief and liquidity in the form of cheap loans helping to keep the ‘pilot light on’ for their reopening,” Robert Hayton, UK president of expert services at Altus Group, explained. 

The Altus Group’s numbers are based upon a detailed analysis of the Local Rating Lists for the administration of business rates in England and Wales maintained by the Valuation Office Agency, an executive agency of HMRC. 

Read more here


Milton Keynes pub reopens after £65,000 makeover 

According to reports by MKFM, the Eagle, in Eaglestone, Buckinghamshire, has reopened after receiving a £65,000 facelift – including having what it believes are the city's biggest projectors installed.

The pub, which is owned by Hawthorn, will continue to be run by local operator David McGowan who has overseen its trade for almost five years.

“It will be fantastic to finally get the community back together and we can’t wait for everyone to see the new refurbishments,” McGowan said. “We also have room for up to 60 people on the outdoor patio area so there’s plenty of space and options for customers, and we’re hoping to welcome back as many people as possible.   

“When we’re allowed, we’ll be bringing in karaoke and live music too, to create a great atmosphere and have some fun.

“Our locals are really important to us and their generosity has always blown us away,” he added. “We have done lots of charity work over the years to raise money for local causes, including annual fundraisers for various charities, for which we have raised over £12,000. 

“The pub is nothing without the community and we’re counting down the days ‘til we can welcome everyone back. We hope the locals enjoy the new additions to the pub.”

West Yorkshire-based operator takes on second Star site 

West Yorkshire-based multiple operators, Jason Smith and his team were joined by the campaign director for the Campaign for Pubs, Greg Mulholland, and members of Otley Pub Club to celebrate the reopening of the Grade Two listed White Swan in Otley following a joint £228,000 upgrade with Star Pubs & Bars. 

Originally scheduled for March 2020, the refurbishment was postponed till October due to lockdown, with its reopening put back until 17 May 2021.  

Jason also took on the lease of another of Star Pubs & Bars’ Otley pubs, the Junction, in November, and will take on the King’s Arms in Silsden from June.

“I have been reassured by the popularity of both pubs and happy with the real hands-on support I have received from my business development manager, Craig Foweather, over the last few months and the rent relief provided by Star Pubs & Bars, which included zeroing rent during this latest lockdown,” Smith said.

“I am confident that business will come back to near normal in the next year,” he continued. “So much so that my plan is to increase my pub estate to five pubs in West Yorkshire by the end of the year. They’ll all be wet-led pubs offering a little bit of pub food.”

White Swan

The Oakman Group reopens the Woburn

Part of the Bedford Estates, the 18th​ century Woburn in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, has been reopened by the Oakman Group after being closed for more than a year.  

The site came under Oakman’s stewardship in March and will boast 48 luxury bedrooms alongside seven cottages upon reopening. What’s more, the site’s refurbishment has created 60 new local jobs. 

“It’s been like waking up a giant who’s been hibernating for a year,” new general manager, Christine Wondracek – who has run the Oakman Group’s White Hart in nearby Ampthill for the last six years – said.

“My team and I have been discovering so much about this wonderful place, which has responded to our makeover and all our TLC. It’s a joy to watch it come alive again and all it needs now is the buzz that comes from looking after our guests whether they’re dropping in for a drink or staying overnight.”

The Oakman Group’s CEO, Dermot King, added: “I think The Woburn could easily become the jewel in the Oakman Group’s portfolio of historic pubs and hotels. 

“Our design and management teams have worked tirelessly on this initial refurbishment so that we could open this week, in time for the summer. 

“With local attractions re-opening, and staycations on the agenda, The Woburn is perfect for those looking for a much-needed mini-break. We think our regulars will be surprised and delighted at how we’ve given each of the areas their own individual character and I’m sure they will quickly find their favourite corner to meet their friends and families.”


Oxfordshire pub creates library and IT hub

Oxfordshire-based publican Dan Redfern is opening a library and IT hub at the Cherry Tree Inn in Stoke Row to support local residents as the country emerges from lockdown. 

Redfern, who runs the Brakspear pub with his partner Natalie, decided to transform a small room into the library, with the help and a Community Services Fund grant from not-for-profit organisation Pub is The Hub.

The new library and IT hub, which opened on 17 May when Government restrictions eased, boasts more than 300 books including around 60 specialist cookery and gardening books donated by Redfern and his chef Matthew Allen.    

“This room provides a great environment for our regulars to come in and have a coffee and get a book to read,” Dan Redfern explained. “The library and IT hub will be really important in helping many local residents to socialise after such a long period of isolation and lockdown.  

“Since we took on the pub in 2018, we have become the hub of this local area offering excellent food and drink as well as a place for our locals to meet and socialise. We are also planning to offer IT help to local retired residents as well as coffee mornings and even a small cinema when restrictions allow.” 

Pub is The Hub advisor Bill Affleck added: “This library and IT hub will be an important asset for the village, especially as we return to more normality after lockdown. It will allow people to connect both socially and online.  

“Dan and Natalie have really helped people in the local area and have more exciting plans for the pub moving forward.” 

Cherry Tree

Retiring Welsh operators to give pub away in raffle

The husband-and-wife team behind the Raglan Arms in Llandenny, Monmouthshire, have opted to raffle off their fully-stocked pub as they retire from the industry. 

William and Judith Brown – who have run the rural Welsh gastropub for more than six years – are asking entrants to guess how many dried butter beans are inside glass whisky bottle, with each entry given a unique draw number before a random number draw conducted by an independent third party. 

The pub and restaurant in Llandenny – between Raglan and Usk in Monmouthshire – is being sold in the raffle to 'give someone the chance to get involved in their dream industry'.  

While the entry fee is £10 per entry, for the first 30 days of the competition the pair are giving away four extra unique draw numbers to be included in the draw for free. 

Read more here

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