EXCLUSIVE: Three property lots, including the building from which the 150-year-old furniture business continues to trade, are included in another auction catalogue – now at knockdown prices. By STEVEN DOWNES
The historic House of Reeves furniture store, which escaped sale at auction when the property was withdrawn last week, is included in a catalogue for another sale later this month – and this time at the knockdown guide price of £1.75million.
The Reeves furniture business has been trading in Croydon’s Old Town for 150 years, and brothers Trevor and Graham Reeves, the fifth generation of the family to manage the firm, maintain that it is “business as usual” for them in the run-up to the hectic Christmas period. Last week, Trevor Reeves told Inside Croydon that he was recruiting extra staff.
Yet their fellow shareholders in the company appear persistent in their attempts to find a property developer wanting to buy up the land on three plots, including the site that has been derelict since the furniture showroom that had stood there was burned down by arsonists on the night of the Croydon riots in August 2011.
Barneys Estates, the auctioneers who were charged with the sale last week, have not offered any explanation for the abrupt withdrawal of the lots from sale. Barneys are now named as a contact for enquiries in a Barnard Marcus catalogue.
And this time, the sale prices are a total of £2million less than the guide prices listed just a week ago.
The House of Reeves building, which had a guide price of £2.5million last week, is this time listed for sale at £1.75million.
The derelict roundabout site is now on offer from £750,000, down from last week’s £2million.
And the garage and residential site to the rear of the Old Town’s Salvation Army building now has a guide price of £150,000, and is revealed in the auctioneers’ particulars as having been used as a Reeves storage site.
Ominously, for those who cherish the historic links of the long-established business with the area, Lot 15 in the Barnard Marcus the catalogue is described as the “former House of Reeves site”.
“Historic Landmark Development Opportunity,” the estate agents’ spiel states, adding in parenthesis the important rider of “subject to planning permission”.
“Prominent corner site. 1/3 acre. First time on open market for many years.
“Full vacant possession (see note),” the auctioneers say; their note is similar to one in the Barney’s catalogue last week, which advised that the furniture business would be given six months to vacate the building.
They continue: “This unique opportunity is located in the Old Town area of Croydon specifically at the junction of Church Road and Reeves Corner.”
Try not to laugh out loud when you read this next bit: “Croydon has become renowned in recent years for new development and growth with this lot arguably offering an opportunity to acquire one of the few landmark sites yet to be developed…
“The property sits within a site of some 1/3 acre and currently presents some 14,000sq ft of built space comprising a range of retail, ancillary, office and storage space and is possibly one of the oldest and most established retail location/ outlets in the area. Whilst evident continued retail use is an option, a more modern and efficient use of the land and existing built space could offer a range of development options.”
And then there’s this: “Prospective buyers should note that until recently a development company held an option to purchase the site subject to planning.
“This planning was refused on appeal but the proposed development would have been domineering especially to the nearby church.” That means the Grade I-listed Croydon Minster.
The roundabout site – referred to by the auctioneers as the “island site” – is Lot 23. It is described as a “Strategic land opportunity”, but also requires planning permission.
It is at around this point that the estate agents enter the world of fantasy development world. They even admit that they have taken a bit of a liberty in their illustrations.
“The seller has commissioned the computer-generated images within these details which emulates some of the recent high-rise developments within the Croydon area as an idea of a bold and iconic structure, such development would involve significant planning consultations and would involve utilisation of the adjoin [sic] land and as such, this image is strictly designed to show a concept that prospective buyers may wish to consider and is not indicative of an actual proposed scheme.
“As with any lot, prospective buyers are deemed to solely rely upon their own planning enquiries.” So there.
- Inside Croydon has been delivering local community news since 2010. To support independent local journalism in Croydon, please sign up today as a supporter. Click here for more details
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- By having a comment section, we provide all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content. Details of how this works can be read by clicking here
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period