Lockey House purchase can be completed
The freehold of a landmark building can now be purchased in full by St Albans City and District Council as part of a regeneration project.
Lockey House, in St Peter’s Street, was bought by the Council for £6.25 million earlier this year, apart from one remaining retail unit with a 999-year lease.
Now an opportunity has arisen to acquire the unit, a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee on Thursday 24 June was told.
If purchased it will mean the freehold of the whole of this landmark building will be in the Council’s ownership and can be part of the wider regeneration project around the Alban Arena.
The Committee recommended to Full Council that its capital budget is increased this year so the purchase can go ahead.
Councillor Robert Donald, Chair of the Regeneration and Business Committee, said:
This is the next natural step in completing our ownership of Lockey House, giving us overall control and increasing our flexibility for the future use and redevelopment of the whole civic centre site.
In the meantime, the income from these business units will help pay for the regeneration of the Alban Arena which we could not otherwise afford to do.
Lockey House is a three-storey building that has a number of established tenants including a branch of the Nationwide Building Society. The remaining unit was located between Barclays Bank and Virgin Money.
The Council is financing the acquisition with a low-cost loan from the Public Works Loan Board which helps local authorities invest in infrastructure, housing and regeneration projects.
The rental income from these units, after loan repayments and other costs are deducted, will help pay for the regeneration of the nearby civic centre area.
This purchase will also give the Council exciting options to redevelop the Alban Arena entertainment venue and provide possible new facilities such as the creation of a significant public green space, a covered market and a community hub.
Cllr Donald added:
Lockey House is a large building, providing business and retail space in the heart of the city and boasts a number of blue-chip tenants.
It is an excellent addition to our property portfolio and I hope Full Council accepts our recommendation to complete the freehold purchase.
Acquiring this unit will help us progress our plans to regenerate what has become a rather tired area of the city centre. We are already redeveloping the site of the former police station and NHS clinic where 93 new homes and substantial new business space is being created.
We are working now on design proposals for the area around the Alban Arena, close to Lockey House. This will further enhance St. Albans in the years ahead as a vibrant place to live and work in or to locate a business.
Picture: Lockey House.