A PRIME slice of city centre real estate has gone on the market for a snip at £50 million.

The Hanningtons Estate includes the freehold to 1.32 acres of offices, 41 residential units and 30 retail units – plus several potential developments in North Street and The Lanes.

It is being sold as one lot and is made up of 68,000 sq ft of retail space to be marketed at high street luxury brands and leisure operators.

Above the shops are 41 residential units ranging from one to six bedrooms. The estate includes Huntingdon House, a 12,000 sq ft office building with retail at ground level, and 4,500 sq ft of offices in Brighton Place, currently let to G2 Legal.

The site, which includes the old Hanningtons department store, currently produces around £2.1 million of combined rental income – which would rise to around £3.5 million once fully let.

Planning permission has already been granted to build in Hanningtons Lane with consent for 13 new retail units, seven residential units and more than 4,000 sq ft of offices above.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is marketing the estate with agents KLM.

It is part of the bank’s controversial £3 billion West Register property portfolio, accrued over six years of business insolvencies following the 2008 banking crisis.

The relatively low price tag is thought to reflect the amount of work still required to develop the bottom of North Street.

RBS recently began an upgrade of North Street with relocated bus stops, wider pavements, sandstone paving, trees, street furniture and two new pedestrian crossings, to improve the desirability of the area. A planning application has also been submitted for an additional link between North Street and the Hanningtons Lane development.

This would involve the demolition of the grade II listed Timpson shop to reveal the 17th century Puget’s Cottage. Ed Allison-Wright, of Brighton property company Centurion Group, said: “Centurion has been working closely with RBS since acquisition of the neighbouring Brighton Square Portfolio in early 2012 and we are very proud to have successfully negotiated two fantastic development schemes on both of our respective ownerships, but under one regeneration scheme master plan.

“We look forward to working closely with the lucky prospective new owners when the estate sells.

“There is still work to be done to enhance the overall benefit that this asset can bring to all of us locally, and those visiting Brighton and Hove.”


Analysis – by Tony Mernagh, executive director, the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership

It was always the case that the Hanningtons estate would be sold by RBS when its West Register property portfolio got embroiled in controversy back in April 2014 and the decision was made to sell all of its £3bn property assets, so that is no surprise.

The granting of planning consent for a new lane and RBS’s works to improve North Street will all add value, especially if they can get consent to demolish 15 North Street to make a new entrance to the Lanes.

But the bottom end of North Street has languished as a retail destination for many years and any new owner would have to invest heavily in realising the plans that have already been granted consent.

That will undoubtedly be reflected in the price. But with the right owner it could be transformative for North Street and The Lanes.