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Historic hospitality site in St Albans seeks new owner

The historic council-owned Batchwood Hall in St Albans has been brought to market via Christie & Co.

This presents an exciting opportunity for a new operator to acquire a large vacant property, with potential to re-establish this as a leading hospitality venue in an affluent North London commuter town.

Designed in the Queen Anne style and built in 1874 for Edmund Beckett, Batchwood Hall has served a variety of uses over the years. The manor house began its life as a private estate until St Albans City & District Council purchased the property in 1935, when an 18-hole golf course was built in the grounds.

From the 1970s, the property was home to St Albans’ largest nightclub, ‘Club Batchwood’ which is fondly remembered by those in the area. Most recently, having closed during the pandemic, the hall has been used as a vaccination centre to support the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Now that Batchwood Hall is vacant, the council is looking for an ambitious new hospitality operator to breathe life back into the iconic building and begin a new chapter in its history.

St Albans is known for its thriving café and restaurant culture and following a strategic review of the building by Christie & Co’s consultancy team, it is felt a new high-quality pub-restaurant with letting rooms will appeal most to the affluent local community, as well as visitors to the adjacent Batchwood Leisure Centre and golf club, which collectively receive up to 700 visitors per day.

The substantial three-storey building, surrounded by landscaped park land, is quiet yet well-connected. The site offers significant scope to develop a stunning destination which complements the historic fabric of the building, just minutes from St Albans city centre.
The council is willing to offer flexible lease terms and incentives to ensure a long-term partnership with the new operator.

Tom Hardy, Estates Services Manager at St. Albans City & District Council, said, “This is a rare opportunity for both the Council and a future operator, it is not often we are able to offer a lease for such a historically significant building.

'Batchwood Hall is much loved locally and there is huge scope and potential for the right operator to create something rather special, further enhancing what is on offer at the Batchwood Estate.”

Tim Widdows, Business Agent in Christie & Co’s Licensed Hospitality team, who is leading the search for the new lessee, added, “We’re delighted to be working with St Albans Council to develop a wonderful new food and beverage business in the community.

'Following a refurbishment programme, this historic property could be reimagined to be the one of the highest income-generating and unique properties in the area.”