Brick by Brick’s George Street offices are put up for rent

A lasting reminder of one of the principal factors that crashed the council’s finances could be about to be erased from Croydon town centre.

In the black: the George Street show room

Brick by Brick’s vainglorious sales suite and offices on George Street have been vacated and put up for rent.

Stiles Harold Williams, the estate agents who manage much of the property portfolio of the Whitgift Foundation, the borough’s biggest landowners, are advertising the availability of 62 George Street.

Brick by Brick was the council’s in-house house-builder, formed in 2015, but which was late with every single building project they started, as well as going massively over-budget on the refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls.

Brick by Brick also failed to deliver on its target that 50per cent of its new homes will be “affordable”. The housing company’s failures were identified by council auditors as a major cause of the council’s financial collapse in 2020.

Luxury: at least Brick by Bricks sales staff had comfortable surroundings to work in

It is not even five years since Brick by Brick’s managing director, the bungling Colm Lacey, embarked on one of his ego trips by spending £1million on redecorating and furnishing the offices for the failing housing company. Ultimately, as in all else, Lacey was using public money.

The Brick by Brick office building was decked out in black. It is the only time in the company’s existence that Brick by Brick was ever in the black…

“Entire building available on a new lease,” the estate agents bullet-pointed at the end of April.

Including basement, the building comprises five floors: Lacey had the ground floor turned into a sales suite. This was often empty, simply because the company failed to deliver any new homes on schedule. Even when the homes were completed, BxB was unable to sell most of its affordable housing because they never got themselves registered as licensed sellers of shared ownership properties.

The rest of the building was used to provide office space for Brick by Brick’s generously staffed operation, which at its peak had risen to more than 40 employees, with a pay roll of more £2.5million per year.

Ego trip: Colm Lacey

Company accounts released (late) in September 2019 showed that a generous £515,234 was spent by Brick by Brick on “leasehold improvements” for their headquarters building, while another £166,000 bought computer equipment.

Lacey then tied the company in to a 10-year lease with their landlords, to cost £427,000 in rent over the term.

It seems possible that a five-year opt-out provision has been triggered, as Stiles Harold Williams say they are now offering the building on a “new” five-year lease at £42,000 per year rent.

Plus business rates, of course.

Read more: BxB’s collapse was predictable. Why did no one else notice?
Read more: Brick by Brick CEO says company has sold 6 houses. Or is it 5?
Read more: Brick by Brick faces ‘disaster’ as it misses sales targets by 83%
Read more: Brick by Brick reports £25m losses as debts rise to £229m
Read more: Brick by Brick staff caught breaking Google review policies

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6 Responses to Brick by Brick’s George Street offices are put up for rent

  1. They are currently over a month late with accounts for y/e 31 March 2022. That’s £375 in fines to date for what is a criminal offence. More public money wasted unless Kerswell or some other person is going to accept responsibility and pay the fine. Pigs might fly.

  2. derekthrower says:

    On their rapidly deteriorating website which is no longer being maintained to the standards previously kept. They are still stating that George Street is their business address. Funny that Part Time doesn’t ever seem to comment about the turkey he is still providing a nest for at the Council Tax Payer’s expense. His policy of dynamic indolence at work and the Council Tax Payers left completely in the dark.

  3. Mark Farrelly says:

    It’s been so long since this took place, yet No One has been taken to court – WHY ? Who is actually going to file proceedings from the initial enquiry ? Come on !

  4. Henry says:

    Great article, its the Croydon taxpayer who is paying for Lacey’ bungling.

  5. Maybe part-time Perry can now include the former Brick by Brick premises when he gets round to honouring one of his many so-far unfulfilled manifesto promises:

    “As Mayor I will direct the Council to identify empty shop units across Croydon and publicise them on a bespoke one-stop-shop website that’s open to everyone. Which will mean anyone at any level wanting to set up a business can find the perfect site for them. This website will form the basis of our inward investment campaign, going on the road to encourage local entrepreneurs and national brands to come to Croydon.”

  6. James caldwell says:

    When is someone from Brick by Brick.going to prison?

    That money was all our council tax ☹️

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