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Sale of council's Hove office block could raise £13m
5:20pm Monday 11th June 2012 in News
A council headquarters which could be sold off to raise vital funds is valued at more than £13 million, The Argus can reveal.
But Kings House costs Brighton and Hove City Council more than £500,000 a year to keep it running.
The Argus understands that the council is considering selling the building as part of a property portfolio review.
The Grade II-listed block, which used to be the Seeboard head office, sits in one of the city’s prime locations.
One leading property expert, who asked not be identified, told The Argus that if the council were to develop it as residential flats it could make more than the £13.8 million estimate.
He said: “The penthouse apartments alone would be worth up to £1 million each.
“However, I don’t think that it could be turned into flats because it would go against the council’s planning policy.
“It’s more likely to be a sale and leaseback agreement where the council would sell the property but continue to use it by renting it off the new owner. It’s what a lot of the banks are doing.”
The latest valuation for the site, which was revealed by the local authority following a Freedom of Information request, stands at £13,860,893.
The response also revealed that the council paid £268,495 in maintenance last year and £304,290 in business rates.
Opposition groups welcomed the possible sale but said the proceeds must be put to good use.
Robert Németh, deputy chair of Brighton and Hove Conservatives, urged the council to act on what was a “very reasonable request”.
He added: “It is essential that the proceeds go towards something worthwhile – like a new sports centre for Hove.”
Warren Morgan, the deputy leader of the council’s Labour group, added: “It is more important than ever that the council looks at what buildings it owns, where they are and what they are worth, including Kings House.
“This could involve selling the sea-facing part with the council retaining the Second Avenue section. Any sale must deliver a significant profit that would be invested in frontline services.”
A council spokeswoman said that there were “no agreed plans” as yet, adding that the authority constantly reviews its property portfolio.