A developer is advertising an “investment opportunity” for 40 new flats in St George – after reportedly buying a JD Wetherspoon pub in the area.
The St George’s Hall on Church Road will close down on September 19, with all staff offered jobs at other Wetherspoon pubs in Bristol.
The pub chain told Bristol Live the buyer is Landrose, a private company based at Deben House in Lawrence Hill. When we initially approached the developer, it denied acquiring the building, describing this as “incorrect information”.
READ MORE: Bristol pub loved by Bristol City fans for pre-match pints closes
Wetherspoon told us again that Landrose is the buyer. Twice in the last week, we asked Landrose why it had denied making the purchase, but it has not yet responded.
Though the developer has not confirmed the purchase, its website lists this investment opportunity: “Soon to be announced, this historic commercial building in a central St George location will be transformed to hold 40 studios and a modest office space on the street facing side of the property.”
It has not specified the building it is referring to.
Though technically in Redfield, the St George’s Hall is often described as being in St George. The advert for the unidentified property classes it as being in a “central BS5 location”.
‘Fastest growing housing market in Bristol’
It adds: “St George currently has the fastest growing housing market across Bristol, and with completion within 24 months, this project will take full advantage of the area’s thriving position in Bristol’s real estate sector.”
The “minimum investment option” is set at £50,000. Landrose’s website lists other investment opportunities including 200 flats in Kingsland Road, St Philips, and 21 studio flats in Romney Avenue, Lockleaze.
The St George’s Hall would not be the first Redfield pub recently acquired by Landrose. The firm announced in June that it had completed a redevelopment of the Three Crowns, which was a Victorian pub on Blackswarth Road.
The developer renamed the site Kings Court, replacing the pub with “nine modern flats, each containing three to four individual studio units set within a large communal area”.
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Landrose’s website bills it as a provider of “outstanding sustainable homes across Bristol and the south”. The company, incorporated in 2019, describes its homes as “powered by green energy”, with a focus on “repurposing redundant buildings”.
Its website states: “We commission local artists to design large colourful murals covering our developments when possible, in fitting with the fantastic mural art you can find in areas such as Bedminster, Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft.
“This attitude of environmental responsibility and sustainability from the development will also be reflected through the ecological measures we will take to ensure that the local wildlife can continue to thrive.
“We will install hedgehog holes in all fences and barriers on all of our developments, with bat boxes on our roofs as well as wildflower rooftop cladding where possible. Likewise, we install solar panels interspersed throughout the rooftop areas of our projects in order to provide sustainable hot water for our units.”
It adds: “Our co-living developments focus on providing spacious, bright, independent studio apartments containing their own bathroom and living area, with a larger shared kitchen and living space for every 2-4 flats.”
‘Not happy about closure’
Josh is among the customers disappointed at the closure of St George’s Hall
Speaking earlier this month, one regular at the St George’s Hall said some customers have been trying to take “anything that’s not nailed down” as a memento of the boozer, adding: “There was one bloke asking for a picture of John Wayne on the wall.”
Another customer, Josh, said: “I’ve been coming here for five or six years and I’m not happy about it. My other pub doesn’t open until 1pm. Where can I go until then?”
The fate of St George’s Hall has long been a matter of speculation. The twisty saga started in the spring of 2019, when Wetherspoon revealed plans to sell it after disappointing financial results.
The pub was among 16 UK Wetherspoon branches set to be sold after those results, dismaying regulars at the Redfield watering hole.
There was a u-turn in November 2019, when Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “There had been an offer to purchase it, but after consideration, we decided to continue to run it as a Wetherspoon pub. All the staff have been told and are delighted with the decision. We trust that our loyal customers will welcome the good news too.”
But Wetherspoon accepted an offer for the pub in May this year, prompting next month’s closure. Asked the reason for the sale, Mr Gershon said: “On occasion the company sells pubs and this is the case here.”
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the chain’s finances. The chain reported a pre-tax loss of £46.2million in its six-month results in March.
Research revealed in 2019 that the St George’s Hall was the cheapest Wetherspoon pub in Bristol, its customers spending an average of £2.72 for a pint.
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