Corn Exchange Crickhowell
We want to buy the Corn Exchange in Crickhowell and convert it into small retail and residential units.
- Crickhowell, United Kingdom
Categories: Food & Beverage Non-Digital B2C
The aim of the business is to purchase the Corn Exchange Public House in Crickhowell town centre to prevent the current owner’s proposed development of a national chain convenience store. The building would then be converted to create 3 small retail units on the ground floor, with 3 one-bedroomed flats above, to satisfy a recognised need for such premises in the locality.These will be rented to produce a regular income to investors.
A price of £300,000 (plus VAT) has been agreed with the vendors, subject to survey etc. Initial estimates show that, in total, the conversion costs will be in the region of £250,000.
Once purchased, the shareholders will have a say in how the building is converted, and the types of tenants that will be sought.
The conversion will be sympathetic to the character of Crickhowell town centre, and add much needed rental premises in an area where these types of units are generally in short supply.
This will prevent the building being converted for use by a national chain convenience store. While the plans for a convenience store have been withdrawn for the moment, they could be reintroduced if this initiative were unsuccessful.
In our view, stopping these plans will protect the town's reputation for good independent shops which, in turn, has the potential to attract tourists and boosts the wider economy. This initiative could also protect jobs in existing businesses in the town, and create new opportunities for small businesses to get a foothold in the High Street, and offer needed one bedroom homes.
At the same time the appearance of the listed building in the centre of town will remain in keeping with the character of the High Street and maintain the town's attractiveness as a gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Furthermore, it could demonstrate the power of the community to influence the way in which their town is developed, and hopefully provide encouragement for other towns in similar situations.
Substantial accomplishments to date
The community has petitioned against plans to convert the building for a convenience store and has been able to discourage the owners from pursuing undesirable development plans. A steering committee has been formed which has pursued negotiations with the vendor, and a deal has been agreed for Corn Exchange Crickhowell Limited, a newly formed company which will be owned by members of the community, to buy the property. A price of £300,000 plus VAT (subject to survey etc) has been agreed with the vendors and Heads of Agreement have been signed with a view to exchanging contracts in mid January 2016.
The agreement includes a significant amount of planning and preliminary work already undertaken by the vendor, who will also assist with gaining planning permission for the intended conversion. If planning permission cannot be obtained, the deposit will be returnable in full.
Volunteers have come forward to help with this project, including many offers of free or discounted services.
The aim is to create three small retail units on the ground floor, and three one bedroom flats above.
A 5% deposit is payable on exchange of contracts, with the balance payable on completion. Completion will take place when planning permission has been obtained. It is anticipated that the building will be converted and ready for letting by the end of 2016.
No dividend return is anticipated until the end of 2017 at the earliest.
Funding has been secured through the Brecon Beacons National Park Sustainable Development Fund for a part-time administrator. All other posts are voluntary.
Use of proceeds
Money raised through SEEDRS will fund the purchase and conversion of the building.
Every effort will be made to keep costs to the minimum, and many volunteers have come forward offering free or discounted services to assist the project.
The intention of the company is that the steering committee and the Directors of the company will not be remunerated for the first two years of the project.
It is anticipated that tenants for both Commercial and Residential units will come forward from within the locality. Such units are in short supply in the area, and it is not anticipated that it will be difficult to find tenants.
Characteristics of target market
– Commercial Properties –
Crickhowell town centre currently has no vacant retail units in the town centre. The town prides itself on this fact as well as the self-supporting nature of local businesses. This is evidenced by the Totally Locally Campaign (https://www.facebook.com/totallylocallycrickhow...) where businesses in the town jointly promote local spending and run regular promotional campaigns in support of local shops and businesses. We feel this makes the town centre a desirable location for retailers and small businesses.
– Residential Units –
As far as we know Crickhowell town centre currently has no 1 bedroomed flats to rent and to our knowledge there is a general shortage of accommodation for people wishing to live in or near the town centre.
Through the publicity already generated by the action group and steering committee, their is great public awareness of the project and the units that will become available to rent.
It is expected that, as the project proceeds, word of mouth within the locality will generate a great deal of interest.
In the unlikely event that tenants are not obtained, the team will use estate agents to market the properties more widely.
To our knowledge, there are no competitors. In our view, the identified shortage of similar accommodation in the locality means that the demand for sensibly priced Commercial and Residential letting units will be strong.