10 January 2011

Handsome pubs lure investors, not drinkers

The extravagant frontages of traditional pubs have long been urban landmarks. And, even though they may no longer serve their original purpose of enticing thirsty passers-by, their distinctive style means that many of these properties continue to play a central role in their communities. 

Fitzgerald’s, in Hackney, is just such a building. Currently up for sale at £425,000, this three-storey plus basement property boasts a lavishly decorative façade and is locally listed. Positioned in a mixed retail and residential area – it is next door to the former Hackney Public Baths, also listed – and with substantial living accommodation above the trading floor, it is almost certain to appeal to an investor with an eye for development.

“We can no longer support a pub on every street corner,” says James Grimes, of licensed leisure specialists AG&G , who is dealing with the sale.

“Cheap alcohol in supermarkets, modern lifestyles and different drinking patterns have made many of these urban pubs redundant. But they are often very handsome buildings that have plenty of life left in them, so they continue as restaurants, retail spaces, residential developments or in other useful roles.”

Fitzgerald’s, which was called the Elephant’s Head when it was built in 1897, could follow in the footsteps of the Prince Alfred, another East London property marketed by AG&G.

The Prince Alfred, in Poplar’s Brickfield Gardens Conservation Area, is described by local conservationists as having frontages of “distinctiveness, drama and strength” and being “a nicely composed building that plays an important part in the townscape”. The pub was recently bought by a residential property developer for an undisclosed sum.

For more information, contact James Grimes on 020 7836 7826, e-mail jgrimes@agg.uk.com or media@agg.uk.com.

AG&G are chartered surveyors specialising in the licensed leisure industry, with the skill and experience needed to value, assess or promote a property not simply as bricks and mortar but as a business. If it involves the price of a licensed premises, its profitability, rental value, investment prospects or value in a dispute, AG&G can help.

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