THE sale of prime seafront offices could net a council £10 million more than initially predicted.

The Argus has learnt the sale of King’s House on Hove seafront could eventually give Brighton and Hove City Council a windfall of up to £24 million.

The almost 10,000 square foot grade II listed building is currently being offered for sale as offices but it is expected that it will eventually be sold for conversion into flats.

The Argus understands competing bidders not put off by a valuation that now exceeds £20 million.

The seafront office is being sold as part of a major council overhaul of its buildings.

Refurbishment work is currently being carried out on Hove Town Hall so that all council staff currently based in King’s House can be accommodated in the Norton Road offices.

The move of staff from King’s House to Hove Town Hall is anticipated to take place in December next year.

King’s House has been marketed by London-based Cushman and Wakefield for almost a year.

To convert the property into flats, planning permission will have to be granted on the basis that there was no demand for the property to remain as offices.

Phil Graves, managing director of Graves Jenkins Property, said: “To maximise the site value and to pay that kind of money, any successful bidder will have to build something fairly substantial in addition to the existing building.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it included a pretty tall building, maybe a substantial tower.”

Former Green councillor and Hove Library campaigner Christopher Hawtree said he always considered the £14 million valuation “rather low” despite the additional investment the new owner would need to convert the site.

He added: “This is a capital sum, it cannot be used for day-to-day matters.

“It would surely be the thing to spend some of this upon the repairs apparently needed to the great asset that is the library given to Hove by Andrew Carnegie.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: “The council is still engaged in the sale process and aiming to agree a sale contract shortly.

“The sale programme will deliver proceeds once the council vacates in December 2016.

“We cannot comment on the ongoing commercial negotiations with the purchasers.

"The actual capital receipt is dependent upon the consented scheme.”

Any receipts from the sale would go towards capital investment, the council added.