The real estate and leisure company which owns Dreamland has been put on the market and is being offered for ‘acquisition’ through property specialists Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).
It means the entire Dreamland estate, including the Dreamland car park purchased from TDC, parcels of land surrounding the site inclusive of the plot secured for a new 124-bed hotel, and the option to purchase Arlington House, multi-storey and land, is being offered as assets of the company.
A brochure issued by JLL says: “On behalf of Margate Estates Limited (MEL), JLL are disposing of a real estate and leisure holding company which owns c.17.5 acres of iconic British seaside on the shores of Kent at Margate Main Sands beach which includes:
- Iconic indoor and outdoor events space
- Consented seafront hotel development site
- Mixed use development opportunity
- Amusement park
“In addition, MEL have an option to acquire a 140 year leasehold interest in a residential tower, retail units and a three storey car park in Arlington Square.
“The subject sites provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with a catalytic resort regeneration scheme in one of Kent’s most treasured locations and to develop and grow the creative movement that currently thrives in Margate.”
Listed in the brochure as the assets are:
Art Deco Events Centre
Cinque Ports Restaurant
Dreamland Amusement Park
Dreamland car park
Triangle development site
Outdoor events site
Option for Arlington House & Square
The proposed Sea View Hotel is listed as: “Numbers 43-49 Marine Terrace have planning consent for the construction of a seafront boutique hotel. The hotel will house 124 rooms, 3 restaurant/bar areas, retail units, a gymnasium, conference/meeting spaces and a fantastic public rooftop bar. The plot measures: c.16,500 sq ft / 0.4 acre.”
“The Triangle development site is adjacent to the Dreamland car park and comprises c.40,000 sq ft / 0.9 acre of vacant, unconsented potential development land. Subject to the necessary consents, it could be suitable for residential or commercial development.”
“Dreamland car park sits to the east of the amusement park and is a surface car park with 400 spaces and covers c.152,000 sq ft / 3.5 acres. It is one of two of the largest car parks with access to Margate Main Sands. Subject to the necessary consents, this is suitable for redevelopment and a multi storey car park could be developed in the future.”
“Cinque Ports (50 Marine Terrace) is a Grade II listed, operational restaurant and bar which fronts onto Marine Terrace with views over Margate Main Sands. The restaurant at ground floor level has capacity for 300 people and the bar at lower ground floor level (The Quarter Deck) has capacity for 120 people. The building measures c.8,300 sq ft NIA and c.10,200 sq ft GIA over four storeys with pub/ restaurant on ground and lower ground floor and office/ancillary and residential space on the top two floors.”
Dreamland amusement park
“Dreamland Amusement Park (Grade II* listed) is synonymous with Margate as a seaside resort and comprises:
Three indoor events spaces (Hall by the Sea, the Ballroom and the Roller Disco/Diner) Indoor arcades and a roller disco
Two outdoor events spaces (Scenic Stage and Events Space)
An outdoor amusement park The Hall by the Sea measures c.36,650 sq ft GIA and has a capacity of 1,200 people standing. It can be used as an independent conference/ exhibition space and also a live concert venue as the green rooms and catering facilities for artists run along a corridor on the floor below and have separate access points via the rear of the stage.
The Ballroom measures c. 3,500 sq ft GIA and has a capacity of 500 standing. Like the Hall by the Sea it can house either conferences or live music events as it also has access to the green rooms and catering facilities. Family events such as weddings take place here regularly.
The indoor arcades, concession area and roller disco/diner are at ground floor level and open out on to the amusement park. This area measures c. 35,900 sq ft GIA.”
“The amusement park houses a blend of iconic heritage and modern thrill experiences, the main attraction being the Scenic Railway which is 101 years old and is the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the UK. The park is a major footfall driver and creates volume. Following the Free to Enter model being introduced in 2019, visitation has grown to 700,000 per annum.
“ The Scenic Stage and the Events Space are outdoor events arenas adjacent to the amusement park that have 5,000 and 15,000 people capacity respectively. Live music concerts and entertainment events are regularly held here with facilities to house a variety of food and beverage outlets as required.
“Long term, there is a possibility for the expansion of the Scenic Stage outdoor events arena or for a larger scale redevelopment to include the Dreamland Car Park. To the south east of the Scenic Stage arena, MEL also own the land and buildings at 45-55 Eaton Road which provide a rear site access point from a main road.”
“Built in 1935, The Art Deco events centre is Grade II* listed and built over several levels, measuring c.58,200 sq ft GIA. The building is currently stripped out but comprises two former cinema spaces, a theatre/auditorium and bingo hall, a retail / gallery space, private entertaining spaces and a former seafront restaurant whose fully glazed front wall looks out over Margate Main Sands. Subject to match funding, there is an opportunity to access c. £4 million in grant funding for restoring and converting the building.”
“Arlington House and Square is a sprawling complex which houses an 18 storey residential tower (Arlington House), a 500 space three storey car park and c. 30,000 sq ft of now derelict retail (Arlington Square). The site measures c. 4.23 acres and built in 1964 and designed by Russell Diplock & Associates, the sides of the building have a wave like design providing both inland and sea views from every apartment
“This site is not currently owned Freehold by MEL but MEL have an option to acquire the whole site. The site has been earmarked in the Local Plan as being suitable for redevelopment.”
The brochure also lists possible actions for 2021 – 2023 as:
Exercise Arlington Square development site option and begin planning process for creation of hotel and new retail at Arlington North and residential at Arlington South
Begin planning process for creation of conferencing facilities in the Art Deco Events Centre
Begin planning process for creation of modular hotel on Triangle Development site
Begin planning process for creation of glamping site
Build out Seafront Hotel
Dreamland operating company is Sands Heritage Ltd. The immediate parent company is Margate Estates Limited, a company registered in Guernsey, and the ultimate controlling party is Arrowgrass Master Fund Limited, a company registered in the Cayman Islands.
The registered owning company for the hotel plot and Cinque Ports building is AG MARGATE PROPCO 1 LIMITED, based in Guernsey.
An asking/acquisition price has not been listed. Which of the companies listed above is the subject of the disposal offer has not listed.
‘Seeking major investment’
Yesterday (June 17) MEL issued a statement to say they are seeking major investment for the next phase of the Margate Estates development project.
The statement said: “This investment is for the purpose of realising a creative, arts and culture led vision to improve and develop their estate. The strategy is to create a world class 365-day a year, all weather, multipurpose entertainment centre with upgraded event and conference facilities, 124-bed seafront hotel, several restaurant and bar venues, retail spaces and a multi storey carpark (all subject to planning permission).”
MEL added: “However, the current appeal of the site is seasonal, and largely attracts domestic tourists and the leisure market. MEL are now seeking investment to significantly grow visitation beyond the peak season and broaden its appeal to the international and business tourist markets.
“A 365-visitor offer is essential to the continued success of Margate as it will provide the ability to offer year-round employment, rather than just seasonal, with Dreamland being a large employer of young people. Furthermore, some of the spaces within the estate will be available for community groups and local charities to utilise.
“This new investment is sought in addition to the £50million already invested by MEL into Margate, and the recent investment of £7million to purchase the freehold of Dreamland.”
Dreamland CEO Eddie Kemsley added: “ By seeking this investment, the possibility of a world class entertainment centre, which will attract many more visitors to the town is in sight.
“MEL is passionate about the development of Margate having invested heavily already. By developing the Dreamland Cinema building and creating an all-weather visitor attraction we intend to dramatically improve the Margate seafront, and offer locals and visitors a broader range of entertainment, all year round. We can’t wait to get started.”
Sale by Thanet council
The Dreamland estate was sold by Thanet council to park operator Sands Heritage Ltd for £7million at the end of last year, with completion on the car park last month.
The sale, one of the biggest asset disposals in Thanet council’s history, included the amusement park, the TDC restored Dreamland cinema and Sunshine Café building and the 400 space car park.
The terms include a restriction prohibiting housing development at the site for 10 years to tackle any possible planning application outside of leisure uses. Conditions are also attached to ensure that the listed heritage structures are protected and the council has secured undertakings from SHL that the same number of public car parking spaces will remain.
The sale of Dreamland park, cinema, scenic railway, rides and intellectual property, completed on December 18, was for £2.3million and the exchange of contracts for the sale of the car park, which took place on the same day and should be completed in April, was for £4.7m.