The ArgusGrand plan for Brighton's most iconic hotel (From The Argus)

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Grand plan for Brighton's most iconic hotel

The Argus: Grand plan for Brighton's most iconic hotel Grand plan for Brighton's most iconic hotel

The owners of exclusive department stores Selfridge's and Fortnum and Mason are rumoured to be in the running to buy Brighton's most iconic hotel.

The Grand, in King's Road, has been linked with the company Wittington Investments, who are also a parent company of Primark.

While current owners, the De Vere Group, would not confirm the rumours, a spokesman said “an exclusivity agreement” with a “third party” had been signed for the sale following “strong expressions of interest from a range of potential purchasers”.

The Grand was put on the market in November as the De Vere Group sought to ease a £1.1 billion debt.

The firm, which has owned the listed hotel for the past 20 years, has just completed the sale of its venues division, which includes the East Sussex National in Uckfield, for £232 million.

The 150-year-old Grand was rebuilt in 1984 following an IRA bomb which ripped through the property during the Tory Party conference.

The group recently spent more than £7 million on improvements to the 201-room hotel including a new spa, an improved bar, a new restaurant and refurbished bedrooms.

A spokesman said: “The board of De Vere Group announces that, in line with its strategy of realising enhanced value, the group has completed the sale of its venues division to Starwood Capital for £232m.

“Following the disposal of Venues, the company comprises 25 village urban resorts, plus two currently in the course of construction, and six De Vere Golf Resort hotels.

“The company has now signed an exclusivity agreement with a third party for the sale of Grand Brighton, following strong expressions of interest from a range of potential purchasers.”

Wittington Investments, which is the investment arm of the multi-billion pound Weston family, is said to be the front runner.

As well as owning exclusive London retailer Fortnum and Mason, the family is at the helm of iconic Oxford Street department store Selfridge's.

They also have a stake in the homeware chain Heal's, which has a store in Duke Street, and own upscale department stores in Holland and Ireland.

However the bulk of their sales is said to come from retail giant Primark, of which they are a parent company.

The family also have a stake in Associated British Foods' which include brands such as Twinings tea, Ryvita and Patak's.

The historic hotel, built in 1864, has been a much loved city landmark for 150 years.

It hit the front pages of newspapers across the world in 1984 when an IRA bomb killed five and injured more than 30.

Their target was the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who was there for the Conservative Party conference.

City tourism expert, Adam Bates, said the identity of the buyer was not important as long as they invested in the historic hotel.

The former head of Visit Brighton, said: “Hotels are bought and sold with great regularity often without the users and wider public knowing much about it.

“As long as whoever owns it can bring in investment to maintain or improve the standard and reputation of the hotel then it doesn't matter too much.

“If that is the case then it is not only good for the hotel but also for the wider city.

“I have no cause for concern from what I have heard so far.”

The now director of website venuesadvisor.com, added: “We are lucky to have such an iconic landmark hotel.

“There are not many hotels in Europe in which you could show someone a picture and they could immediately locate it. That's what The Grand is to Brighton.

“It also reflects the history of the city. While it was perhaps not the first hotel in Brighton it has been there for as long as we have been welcoming visitors.

“When people think of Brighton they think of the pier and the Pavilion but they also think of The Grand. It's of huge importance to the city.”

Wittington Investments declined to comment.

Comments (12)

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7:18am Fri 14 Mar 14

rogerthefish says...

So the prices will go up and not really to the benefit of the residents of B&H.
I've always thought overrated.
So the prices will go up and not really to the benefit of the residents of B&H. I've always thought overrated. rogerthefish
  • Score: -21

7:59am Fri 14 Mar 14

Joshiman says...

Kings House would make a great Hotel with leisure facilities.Buy now whilst the Greens are still in power.Knockdown price as they will probably do a Vince Cable valuation.
Kings House would make a great Hotel with leisure facilities.Buy now whilst the Greens are still in power.Knockdown price as they will probably do a Vince Cable valuation. Joshiman
  • Score: 15

8:51am Fri 14 Mar 14

Morpheus says...

Adam Bates says it was not the first hotel but it has been there as long as we have been welcoming visitors - does this mean that the first hotels were not welcoming visitors. People do say such rubbish.
Adam Bates says it was not the first hotel but it has been there as long as we have been welcoming visitors - does this mean that the first hotels were not welcoming visitors. People do say such rubbish. Morpheus
  • Score: 9

9:25am Fri 14 Mar 14

tykemison says...

also,de vere certainly have not owned the Grand for 20years,it has changed hands as recently as 2008,great investigative journalism yet again from the argus,
also,de vere certainly have not owned the Grand for 20years,it has changed hands as recently as 2008,great investigative journalism yet again from the argus, tykemison
  • Score: 9

9:54am Fri 14 Mar 14

s&k says...

I'd heard it was turning into a giant Poundland.
I'd heard it was turning into a giant Poundland. s&k
  • Score: 15

10:39am Fri 14 Mar 14

Brightonian63 says...

Joshiman wrote:
Kings House would make a great Hotel with leisure facilities.Buy now whilst the Greens are still in power.Knockdown price as they will probably do a Vince Cable valuation.
Kings House started out as a hotel, but the name of it escapes me.
[quote][p][bold]Joshiman[/bold] wrote: Kings House would make a great Hotel with leisure facilities.Buy now whilst the Greens are still in power.Knockdown price as they will probably do a Vince Cable valuation.[/p][/quote]Kings House started out as a hotel, but the name of it escapes me. Brightonian63
  • Score: 9

11:02am Fri 14 Mar 14

Quidsup says...

Good. And the first thing they need to do is give the front of the bulidng a good paint job. If you look at it currently, for a hotel of such standing (and price!) it's in deperate need of rededcorating...
Good. And the first thing they need to do is give the front of the bulidng a good paint job. If you look at it currently, for a hotel of such standing (and price!) it's in deperate need of rededcorating... Quidsup
  • Score: 9

11:05am Fri 14 Mar 14

Renlimgerald says...

Before the last War, Kings House was called Harrisons' Hotel. It is a public disgrace that the building was used by the SE Electricity Board and then the local Council as offices. It occupies one of the most valuable residential sites in the area.
Before the last War, Kings House was called Harrisons' Hotel. It is a public disgrace that the building was used by the SE Electricity Board and then the local Council as offices. It occupies one of the most valuable residential sites in the area. Renlimgerald
  • Score: 17

11:40am Fri 14 Mar 14

Joshiman says...

http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Grand_Hotel
_(Brighton)
All the details of this iconic building we should be proud of.!!!

Of course there are people who would rather turn it into a giant hostel but thankfully they are in the minority .
http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Grand_Hotel _(Brighton) All the details of this iconic building we should be proud of.!!! Of course there are people who would rather turn it into a giant hostel but thankfully they are in the minority . Joshiman
  • Score: 11

12:22pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Mr P Brown says...

Joshiman wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.

org/wiki/Grand_Hotel

_(Brighton)
All the details of this iconic building we should be proud of.!!!

Of course there are people who would rather turn it into a giant hostel but thankfully they are in the minority .
Being in the minority in Brighton and Hove means nothing theses days The minority want a large stick to be built just down the Road from the Grand. Yet at the moment it looks like it is going to be built. Hopefully common sense will prevail and it will just be remembered as one of the Green parties loony ideas that didn't happen
[quote][p][bold]Joshiman[/bold] wrote: http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Grand_Hotel _(Brighton) All the details of this iconic building we should be proud of.!!! Of course there are people who would rather turn it into a giant hostel but thankfully they are in the minority .[/p][/quote]Being in the minority in Brighton and Hove means nothing theses days The minority want a large stick to be built just down the Road from the Grand. Yet at the moment it looks like it is going to be built. Hopefully common sense will prevail and it will just be remembered as one of the Green parties loony ideas that didn't happen Mr P Brown
  • Score: 10

4:27pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Goldenwight says...

s&k wrote:
I'd heard it was turning into a giant Poundland.
I think it would make a brilliant multi-storey car park. They might even be able to charge affordable prices if it was built high enough...
[quote][p][bold]s&k[/bold] wrote: I'd heard it was turning into a giant Poundland.[/p][/quote]I think it would make a brilliant multi-storey car park. They might even be able to charge affordable prices if it was built high enough... Goldenwight
  • Score: -1

3:18am Sat 15 Mar 14

Dave At Home says...

City tourism expert, Adam Bates, said
“As long as whoever owns it can bring in investment to maintain or improve the standard and reputation of the hotel then it doesn't matter too much.

I have no cause for concern from what I have heard so far.”

... and if he had any concerns, so what? what could he do to force the owners to change their mind? If he feels that strongly about it then he should have put an offer in for the hotel to make sure it was keep in such a manner as he described. But he got a cheap plug in for his latest venture of course, would that be his 3rd venture since leaving "Visit Brighton"?

Good luck to the new owners.
City tourism expert, Adam Bates, said “As long as whoever owns it can bring in investment to maintain or improve the standard and reputation of the hotel then it doesn't matter too much. I have no cause for concern from what I have heard so far.” ... and if he had any concerns, so what? what could he do to force the owners to change their mind? If he feels that strongly about it then he should have put an offer in for the hotel to make sure it was keep in such a manner as he described. But he got a cheap plug in for his latest venture of course, would that be his 3rd venture since leaving "Visit Brighton"? Good luck to the new owners. Dave At Home
  • Score: 2

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