Property round-up

Opening date set for former O2 Newcastle Academy, City Pub Group takes site

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Moves in the market: the latest property news and deals
Moves in the market: the latest property news and deals

Related tags Property Branding + marketing Tenanted + leased Multi-site pub operators Freehouse

This week’s property round-up includes the former O2 Newcastle Academy, Cottage Tavern and the Savoy’s American Bar reopening.

Electric Group announces reopening date for former O2 Newcastle Academy

Electric Group has announced it will open its latest venue – NX Newcastle – which was formerly the O2 Newcastle Academy, in October 2022.

NX Newcastle will join the independent music venue owners’ collection of sites, which includes Electric Brixton in London and SWX in Bristol, with specialist leisure property advisor Christie & Co retained to acquire further sites on behalf of the group.

NX Newcastle will be a “state-of-the-art 21st century independent music venue” following a comprehensive £1.5m refurbishment of the historical building, with works scheduled to begin in March 2022.

The layout will include new mezzanine platforms and staircases, four new bars and access to a contained roof terrace.

Target locations for Electric Group include London, Brighton, Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Suitable properties could include nightclubs, theatres, performance venues, bingo halls, cinemas and churches, as well as existing live music venues, which are capable of providing a minimum of 18,000 to 20,000sq ft floor area, with the majority of open plan space on a single level. Both freehold and leasehold situations can be considered subject to leases having a minimum of 15 years unexpired.

Electric Group chief executive Dominic Madden said: “After many years in planning, I’m delighted to announce our exciting vision for the refurbishment of the 02 Newcastle Academy, which, of course, has a seminal history and we have the important task of curating the next stage of the venue’s development.

“NX will be a state-of-the-art independent music venue and our vision is to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment of the venue, with a focus on making the main room a more intimate gig experience.”

Jon Patrick, head of leisure and development at Christie & Co, added: “The pandemic has curtailed live music and performance for the past 18 months and has been an incredibly challenging time for all operators in the late-night sector. Therefore, it’s encouraging to see new investment and plans for new sites coming through from Electric Group.”

State-of-the-art plans: Electric Group's NX Newcastle

New life at the pub run by Ghost Inns chiefs

Ghost Inns pubco directors have breathed new life into the Cottage Tavern in Ashorne, near Warwick, and given the pub a physical transformation.

Tim Sidwell and Mark Williams took over the south Warwickshire village pub in May and spent several weeks decorating, adding new furnishings, transforming the cellar, and redesigning the garden before opening to the public in June.

The menu has also undergone a radical change and offers a daily changing blackboard menu using locally sourced produce, a three-course Sunday lunch and a regular Thursday steak night.

Williams and Sidwell, who are both directors of pub company Ghost Inns, have been friends for more than 17 years when they worked together at the Howard Arms in Ilmington.

They decided to combine their knowledge and experiences of the pub trade and open their own pub in Ashorne. They are currently in the process of buying the lease, which will enable them to have greater control and flexibility over their stock.

Sidwell concentrates on the front of house while Williams looks after the bar. Chef Ryan Davies was trained at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Academy and was awarded ‘apprentice of the year’. He has also worked under a Michelin-starred chef at Bistro Bruno Loubet. Davies describes his food as “hearty, fresh, homemade seasonal produce made with a lot of passion”.

Williams and Sidwell have also introduced a regular live music night and quiz night. Although open for less than three months, the team has achieved a five-star food hygiene rating with rave reviews from customers.

Williams said: “We are delighted to have brought our experience and passion to The Cottage Tavern and revitalised a tired village pub. It’s been our aim to make the local community and the wider area proud and to give everyone a pub they can love whether its popping in for a half pint of ale or enjoying a three-course meal.”

Cottage Tavern ready after revamp: Tim Sidwell and Mark Williams

Freehold pub let to Stonegate comes to market for offers over £1.7m

A building in Lichfield, Staffordshire, that is home to a Walkabout bar operated by Stonegate Pub Company has been brought to the market with a guide price of £1.7m.

Property estate agent Savills is handling the sale of the building – which reflects a net yield of 6.27% – which will not affect the Walkabout business.

The two-storey property spans 6,376sq ft is let to Stonegate on a 30-year lease expiring in 2044 at a rent of circa £113,000 per year, which benefits from fixed rental increases every five years equivalent to 2.5% per annum.

The property occupies a prominent corner position fronting Bird Street and comprises trading areas at ground and first floor levels with a trading terrace to the front elevation.

Stuart Stares, associate director in the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “This property provides a mix of indoor and outdoor trading areas in a central location in the cathedral city of Lichfield. The current occupier is part of the UK’s largest pub company and has recently extended the lease so that it now expires in 2044, illustrating their strong belief in this location, providing investors with an attractive investment opportunity offering guaranteed rental growth throughout the term.”

Property for sale: business as usual for tenant Stonegate's Walkabout business

City Pub Group adds Suffolk location to growing portfolio

City Pub Group has taken a site in Bury St Edmunds that was formerly a Café Rouge venue.

Having launched in 2011, City Pub Group has grown its portfolio across southern England and Wales, and prides itself on pubs with “great character, fantastic beer, delicious food and excellent service”.

It plans to double its estate to 100 pubs by “focusing on a cluster strategy but without having sites dotted all over the UK”.

Simon Jackaman from estate agent Fleurets said of the site on Abbeygate Street: “Despite the very challenging times within the restaurant scene, we received a multiple number of offers for the lease from large national operators to local independents, thus demonstrating that despite the challenges faced within the sector, strong interest remains for the right locations for these expanding operators keen on sites that fit their format.”

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Ever expanding: City Pub Group takes Suffolk site

First female head bartender at The Savoy’s American Bar in 100 years 

The Savoy's world-famous American Bar will welcome back much-missed guests when it reopens on Monday, 4 October.

The eagerly anticipated reopening is also the first day behind the bar for a new head bartender, Shannon Tebay – the hotel’s first female head bartender since Ada Coleman was at the helm more than 100 years ago and the hotel’s first American leading the American Bar team.

Tebay’s experience in hospitality spans a decade with seven years at Manhattan’s Death & Company where she rose to the position of head bartender. 

Since joining the Savoy in August, Tebay and her team have been busy preparing a new menu, which will be launched officially in November.

A limited offering will be available until November, which includes a collection of 15 elegant cocktails, designed by Tebay as a precursor to the forthcoming new menu and a teaser of the exciting things planned for the bar.

The American Bar first opened in 1893 and is the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain. It has played host to legendary bartenders – historic figures such as Harry Craddock, author of The Savoy Cocktail Book​, and Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman.

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Leading the way: American Shannon Tebay gears up for reopening

Retford pub leasehold on market with guide price of £50,000

Offers are being sought in excess of £50,000 for the leasehold of the Whitehouses Inn in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

The property, which is being marketed by Davey Co, has been operated by the same people for 14 years. They have made pub restaurant, which is well presented and fitted to a quality contemporary village style, a success.

There is scope to further develop the business from an already successful trading platform delivering net sales of £445,000 per annum. It has ready potential to add four letting bedrooms on the first floor and to develop family weddings, events, glamping and caravan leisure trade in the extensive level grounds.

The property offers an attractive lease with base rent equating to 8% annual net sales.

The pub has a four-area through trading space with lounge bar and dining for 80-plus, with a marquee attached to the restaurant area. There is a comprehensively equipped commercial catering kitchen and second floor accommodation.

The trading profit and loss accounts supplied for the year ended 31 January 2020 show net sales of £446,470 excluding VAT, from which a gross profit of £238,627 (53%) was achieved. Davey Co said it has been advised the split on trade is approximately 80:20 in favour of food to wet sales.

Owners’ accommodation offers four rooms and a kitchen and bathroom on the first floor plus a further two rooms on the second floor with restricted access.

The premises are held on the residue of a 10-year renewable lease with approximately three years remaining. The current base rent passing is approximately £36,700 per annum with an optional additional premium of around £8,500 for a free of tie wines, spirits and soft drinks concession.

Retford pub hits market: the leasehold for Whitehouses Inn is up for sale

Angel Oak offers community vibe to Peckham

The newly refurbished Angel Oak in Peckham, formerly the Rye, opened its doors last week following a six-figure refurbishment.

Set on the corner of Peckham Rye Park & Common, the Metropolitan Pub Company-operated venue is a community hot spot for residents. Originally named the Rye, thanks to a link to William Blake, who reportedly saw one of the first visions that inspired his poetry while walking on Peckham Rye back in 1765. 

The pub has now been renamed the Angel Oak both as a reference to the vision itself (in which Blake saw a tree filled with angels) and to commemorate a partnership between the Blake Society and the Forestry Commission, which saw an oak sapling saved from the eroding margins of England and transported to the Peckham Rye Park & Common. 

Reopening with a fresh look both externally and internally, guests of the Angel Oak will be able to enjoy a new and improved bar area and furniture layout that has resulted in a more functional space to enhance guests’ experience.

Meanwhile, existing parking spaces have been converted into steel and charcoal coloured seating areas. 

The site’s rear outdoor area has been converted into a winter garden, adding additional covered seating to allow more diners to enjoy the Angel Oak’s newly revamped seasonal menu.

The Angel Oak general manager Richard Dempsey said: “The Angel Oak has always been a beautiful pub with an amazing atmosphere, and we’re confident this impressive refurbishment will only elevate that further.

“The combination of our modern new space and hero menu, alongside our year-round sport screenings will see the pub transformed into a chic hotspot, making it a must-visit for locals around Peckham and East Dulwich.”

Revamped premises: the Angel Oak in Peckham
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