Westbrook Loggia building transferred to artist Tracey Emin after sale agreement

Tracey Emin is the new owner of the Westbrook Loggia (Photo TDC)

Thanet District Council has agreed the sale of the Westbrook Loggia building at Westbrook Bay to artist Tracey Emin.

Tracey Emin’s plans for the renovation of the building include a community bathers club with café, hot showers, toilet facilities, sauna and winter club room on the ground floor.

The first floor will provide a range of facilities including a large art studio, gym, restaurant and a hot desk station. The roof area will be transformed into a sunbathing area with refreshment facilities.

Tracey said: “I’m so happy and excited. Margate is going to have bathers’ club that we can use all year round. It will take a couple of years to get it renovated and up and running. I want to make it beautiful and grand again.”

Tracey first revealed her plans for the Loggia during the official opening of the TKE Studios (Tracey Karima Emin) and her artist residency project in Margate in March.

It is thought that the Westbrook Bay Pavilion (also known as the Loggia Building) was constructed in 1910. It was originally known as the Westonville Bathing Pavilion and gradually became known as the Loggia. It occupies a prime position on the seafront and was intended to promote enjoyment of the seaside.

It is thought that the towers were removed during the 1930s, one of many architectural changes which this structure has undergone it its time. The most major architectural interventions appear to have been made in the 1950s, likely following the major flood event of 1953.

Postcard of how it once looked

The modern-day Loggia has been extended at first floor level and the colonnaded frontage has been lost. The original cast-iron railing has been retained on the central section, along with the arched windows at first floor level.

The Loggia building was identified in 2020 as a key site to deliver improved experiences and facilities all year round. The building is currently empty except for a section occupied by Thanet Lifeguard Club, who will remain as tenants. A feasibility report suggested some £4.06million would be needed to refurbish the site.

Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “We are pleased that the completion of this sale will secure a positive future for the Loggia. It occupies a prominent position on Westbrook Bay and holds fond memories for many local people and visitors.

“Tracey Emin’s innovative plans for the Loggia are set to rejuvenate the immediate surrounding area and provide excellent new facilities for residents, beach users and beach-focused businesses. Tracey’s visionary plans for the restoration and revitalisation of the building reflect her deep connection to the area and her commitment to fostering community engagement and sustainable development.

“The renovation will also improve the external appearance of the building which provides an imposing backdrop to Westbrook Bay.”

Westbrook Loggia

The toilets, a part of the local public convenience provision, will remain open for public use. The facilities have been safeguarded as an integral part of the transfer.

Photo Steven Collis

Tracey Emin bought the TKE site consisting of a former Edwardian bathhouse, mortuary and children’s nursery in November 2021 for £750,000. She has since spent upwards of £1million renovating and refurbishing the site.

It now consists of artist studios and gallery spaces to provide “a perfect working environment.”

She also bought nearby flats which she is renting to her artists at a subsidised rate.

The artist also owns her studio/living space at the former Thanet Press site which she moved to in 2017, The Brown Jug pub in Broadstairs and the former Margate Constitutional Club and One Union Crescent.


  1. Whatever one thinks of Tracey’s art, one has has to appreciate her investment in Thanet and in saving and restoring some of its buildings. So thank you Tracey.

  2. I believe this will be become a members only space an exclusive place not for normal Thanet people. open your eyes ! how many of Traceys space are accessible to all of the public, it will be a place for her and her posh fancy friends ….0%

    • I imagine the fee for membership will be out of the range of the average Thanet wage earner. One used to be able to do Art/Craft days which incorporated a 6 hr session for £40 from some sources a few years ago. Now with the excess of Art experts one finds the average fees are a minimum of £50 for 2 hours. Sad but unsurprising as many (not all please note) newer residents have more cash to spare

    • Read the article before making such prejudiced comments.

      “Tracey Emin’s innovative plans for the Loggia are set to rejuvenate the immediate surrounding area and provide excellent new facilities for residents, beach users and beach-focused businesses. Tracey’s visionary plans for the restoration and revitalisation of the building reflect her deep connection to the area and her commitment to fostering community engagement and sustainable development.”

    • Honestly people love a good whinge. She’s investing a huge amount of money in Margate, bringing in more revenue for local business, trades people and invigorating the arts scene. Creating facilities the area can be proud of. I think its a wonderful thing.

  3. Well that’s one in the eye for all those who think the arts contribute nothing to Thanet.

    I wonder if her budget would stretch to the Winter Gardens ?

        • Yes, he still sells out everywhere, including last time he played Margate Winter Gardens, on 21st July 2022. As he quipped at the time, “Instead of cancelling me, they’re cancelling the theatre!”.

  4. This can be nothing but good news. Any improvement has got to be better than the derelict eyesore that it has become. Of cause, TDC could have not sold it & left it to rot.

  5. I like art a lot, it’s a big part of my life. But I also like the ordinariness of Westbrook Beach – great place for everyone but no sign of the sometimes pretentious and, indeed, rather exclusive arty side of Margate. Please Tracy, let everyone continue to feel comfortable on the beach as if it truly belongs to one and all without any group or individual’s signature writ large.

  6. Glad that the place is to be improved. (And, yes, I can see how the Arts-led strategy has paid off in this case).
    But it occurs to me that this whole process reveals the deep flaws at the heart of our “democracy”.
    We find that the Council (democratically elected by all of us) just has no money to carry out much needed revitalisation.
    But single , private individuals (elected by no-one) have got enough money on their own to take over local resources to use as they wish.
    I expect that she may decide on really worthwhile uses for the building, but we, the local voters, are disenfranchised and end up appealing to her to do the right thing.
    Our whole country is like this. We elect increasingly similar politicians to oversee the Parliament, but the economy is owned and run by a small number of unelected millionaires who make decisions that suit themselves. And we call this “democracy”.

    • Yes, I agree. It’s all in the words too. If the headline had read , “Property Developer buys council property at low price.”
      I’m sure the response would be different. I hope I’m wrong and not just exploiting us

    • Well, either that or you might find that Tracey Emin hasn’t spent £1m of her own cash paying off a toxic management team that was mismanaged by successive Tory and Labour Council Leaders, or wasted millions on the Transeuropa debacle. Or recently implemented another senior management restructure which gave big pay rises to existing managers. Live animal exports. The list goes on.

      The “TDC hasn’t got any money” line is wearing a little thin. You need to have a close look at what they are actually spending their cash on.

  7. Fantastic news, I live in Westbrook and the Loggia and whole beach area is crying out for investment. The reality is the council have nothing to spare and are stretched in all directions. The alternative is to just let places rot as is the case for so many of our iconic buildings. Speaking without any knowledge at all I imagine the Loggia, Winter Gardens, Lido were all funded and owned originally by private investors. The council just cannot allocate money needed to all the buildings that need urgent help.
    Well done TKE, you have my vote.

    • Agree Christine. It’s great news as the decaying Loggia has been a sad sight on Westbrook Bay for quite a time now. I think it will be a great asset for the local community. Emin is a modern day benefactor with the money and vision to enrich this area – and I suspect near brushes with death focus your attention on what really matters, and community does. Too much negativity just makes you ill!

  8. Well done Ms. Emmin. So lucky to have someone who is prepared to spend their own money to help Thanet improve. As far as “only for her rich friends” those are just the sort of people who will bring money into the area, and maybe invest?
    More power to her, and thank you.

    • I’m not being facetious, but what would they invest in? As it stands, Tracey Emin’s association with Westbrook will very likely increase the number of Airbnbs & they are a tad problematic during a housing shortage. Would they, somehow, invest in some much-needed street cleaning? Nope, that’s not a thing. Existing shops in Westbrook are okay, not wonderful but okay. And even if rich folks do invest in something or other, how would that help those who really need help rather than up & coming folks?

  9. Well done Emin, this looks like a great project hopefully it will involve a cross section of locals in the planning design and implementation. This could be a beautiful modern facility for everyone to feel proud about.

  10. Tracy, support kids trying to build a business, as well as artists . Sunflower Paws, 21 yr old, went to your old school, , Home schooled. ..employs seven or so other pet sitters, 4 yrs voluntary work at animal rescue and still rescues injured animals …she saved every penny to buy old car, tax it etc…all staff police checked, insurance and most pet first aid trained…but she wants to manage and develop Kennels and needs help ….she’s done princes trust, photography, and starting business development with princes trust …is not this equal to art?

  11. I am so happy that Tracey has bought the loggia. She has made a success of her input in Margate and she has done more than most to drag Margate further towards the future. Well done Tracey. Looking forward to the work starting and life on Westbrook beach becoming lively.

    • Oh Simone … kind of glad you like the sound of all this. But, you know, some of us really hate the thought of ‘life on Westbrook beach becoming (more?) lively’. The sea & sand, the sound of the waves, kids playing, teenagers messing around, general chatter and a cuppa & an ice cream – well, that’s enough for many of us. And also at certain times it is so, so quiet and simple there.

      • I know and I agree it is a little lovely secret, but out of season this will be just that for the locals and we could do with a little bit more than just walking our dogs. And that is not always such a quiet activity either.
        I hope Tracey will call a meeting and allow the locals to have their say.

  12. Thank God somebody is investing in Thanet.Just drove into Ramsgate from the A299.Industrial levels of weeds, graffiti everywhere and litter in the kerbs all the way down to the Harbour. Its a constant.Quite easily the worst,neglected approach Ive ever seen to a seaside resort.If only TDC would invest in some public services from tax payers money.

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