Margate’s Old Town Hall is being offered on a long lease of £75,000 per annum with boutique hotel, business centre or retail uses suggested.
In April Thanet council, which owns the building, agreed to move forward with a proposal to market the lease of the Grade II listed site.
In 2018 the building was put on Thanet council’s asset disposal list. A report at the time said baseline costs were £911,400 for Margate Museum and Town Hall. It was agreed that Margate Town Hall would be marketed with the proviso that “consideration (is) given to preserving the Margate Charter Trustees presence.”
In early Spring of 2020 marketing with advertising and approaches for support through English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Association of Independent Museums and other independent museum trusts was due to take place. However the covid pandemic hit with national restrictions coming into force in March 2020.
Now, it is being marketed through Oakwood Commercial with Thanet council looking to let the entire building on a long lease as part of its capitalisation of its property asset register. The Margate Museum site is not included in the lease.
The Old Town Hall sits in the centre of Margate’s Old Town. Completed in 1898, the neoclassical structure served as the headquarters of Margate Borough Council and court building until Thanet District Council was formed, moving to larger, purpose-built premises in 1974. It was then used as the Mayor’s Parlour by the Charter Trustees but has been shut for several years due to health and safety concerns.
Oakwood Homes say: “Margate is home to a vibrant and expanding creative sector. Its Old Town has become a year-round mecca for art lovers who visit Turner Contemporary and numerous independent galleries as well as the cafés, restaurants and vintage and contemporary shops that surround the cobbled Market Place.
“Tourism is an extremely important part of the Isle of Thanet’s visitor economy. Pre-covid the value of tourism to the area was £352 million a year and we welcomed 4.6 million visitors across the district.
“As Margate is served by high-speed trains from London, with a journey time of just 90 minutes, a new generation is now discovering this original seaside escape. We enjoy a year-round demand for high quality serviced accommodation, driven in part by the Dreamland live music programme, the annual Margate Soul Festival and the area’s reputation as a stunning location for film and photoshoots.
“Sitting as it does, centre stage in Margate Old Town Market Place, surrounded by bars, restaurants, art galleries and quirky independent retailers, it is expected (the Old Town Hall) will attract a high level of interest.
“The building would suit conversion to a boutique hotel, business centre or retail. The council is open to innovative proposals (subject to the relevant planning) but these must demonstrate a strong sustainable business model and be fully funded.”
Block viewings will be taking place over a six-week period. To book a viewing contact Dave Tappy, Commercial Director at Oakwood Commercial via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01843 222704.
Full and final bids must be submitted to Oakwood Commercial in writing or by email by noon on Tuesday 12 August.