A FORMER council headquarters has sold for £26,125,000 with plans to turn it into housing.

Contracts have been exchanged with regards to the sale of the freehold of Brighton and Hove City Council’s old seafront base, King’s House in Grand Avenue, Hove. 

Speaking about the sale, council leader Warren Morgan said he was pleased that the building would be brought back into beneficial use.

Purchaser Mortar Nova Grand Avenue is aiming to bring forward a planning application for residential development within 12 months.

Cllr Morgan said: “This is more good news for the council’s finances and demonstrates that we were right to make the decision regarding the previous sale agreement that we inherited. 

“We have achieved a larger receipt, earlier than previously anticipated. 

“Selling King’s House will save us £2m a year in operating costs, with money already invested in better customer services for residents both online and in Hove Town Hall.

“The disposal was agreed following an extensive marketing campaign undertaken by Cushman and Wakefield.

“This generated interest from over 500 parties and approaching 40 offers when bids were called for in May 2017.

“The marketing confirmed there was no interest from office users but strong demand from residential developers seeing the potential of this landmark building to deliver a high-quality housing development.

 “The money is going to be in the council’s bank account sooner than expected, meaning any uncertainty is now concluded.”

Mortar Nova Grand Avenue is a joint venture company between local developer Rego Property and London based Pacific Investment. 

The Grade II listed building was vacated in October 2016, when staff relocated to Hove Town Hall and Bartholomew House.

The sale will bolster council coffers and will go towards funding vital services for residents. 

Significant savings will also be made by not having to maintain the building as council offices.

Piers Beckwith, director of Pacific Investments, said: “This is an iconic building along the seafront which offers an unparalleled opportunity to invest in Brighton and Hove, one of the most attractive locations on the south coast to live and work.”

Ronan Mellett, director of Rego Property, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to acquire this property and look forward to undertaking its refurbishment and redevelopment into a leading residential location.”