Blue Marble Asset Management (Blue Marble) has acquired the former Regal Cinema site in Lichfield, on behalf of a local developer client, and won planning permission for a development of 38 apartments and 4,000 sq ft of retail space.
Acting on behalf of a private Lichfield-based investor and developer, the Birmingham-based specialist real estate investment and asset management company acquired 23 – 27 Tamworth Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6JP, for an undisclosed sum, and will manage the construction and development of the residential and retail space.
Last used as Kwik Save store, and lying empty for over nine years, the façade of the grade II* listed former cinema will be retained in the new development. It stands at the edge of the city’s central pedestrianised area and is a prominent landmark site in Lichfield which is soon set to benefit from the £283 million Friarsgate development, creating 900 jobs in 25 new retail and leisure units.
Designed in an art deco style by Birmingham architect Harold Seymour Scott, the Regal Cinema opened in 1932, with seating for 1,300 people. It closed its doors in 1974.
“This development site is the enigma of Lichfield,” says Ed Jones, Investment Director at Blue Marble.
“There have been a number of proposals and planning applications over the past few years. The difference this time is that the development team is composed of people with strong local connections. Blue Marble CEO Tim Matthews and I both went to school in Lichfield, and live in Staffordshire, our architect James Walch works for Lichfield practice Brownhill Hayward Brown Architects, our client is Lichfield based, and the Lichfield office of Connells estate agents has been appointed to sell the new apartments.
“We will produce a highly desirable, high quality development which respects Lichfield’s historic architecture. As we inherited the design of the development from the planning application, our first actions will be to make some design changes, to make it more sympathetic to the surrounding buildings and more synonymous with Lichfield.
“With its good schools, good road links, particularly for commuting to Birmingham, and its historic Cathedral, Lichfield is already a highly desirable place to live. The new Friarsgate retail scheme and other developments will make it an even more attractive place to live, and draw in more potential buyers for our new apartments.”
Blue Marble expects to tender for the first contracts shortly, with work potentially starting on site before the end of the year (2017).
Mr Jones adds: “This is a highly sensitive development of a grade II* listed building in a conservation area, on the edge of a pedestrian zone, so it is important that we take the necessary time to ensure that we get everything right. We also have a great deal of work to undertake to meet the planning obligations set out by Lichfield District Council before we can start any work on site.”
Based in Birmingham’s Colmore Business District, Blue Marble Asset Management is a real estate asset management specialist which presently has more than £70 million of property assets under management. It works for a select range of clients including high net worth individuals, trusts and family offices. Its business is based on taking a holistic and strategic view for their clients’ property investments.
Picture captions: (l-r) James Walch of Brownhill Hayward Brown, Tim Matthews and Ed Jones, both of Blue Marble, outside the former Regal Cinema site in Lichfield.