An iconic building in Cardiff city centre, currently run as a distinctive hostel on bustling St Mary Street in Cardiff city centre, is going under the hammer with a guide price of £450,000.
The five-storey freehold property called Mrs Potts is, according to the auction house selling the building, a development investment opportunity in the heart of the capital, located on St Mary Street.
Even before entering the property to experience its potential, the exterior of this gem of a building is immediately recognizable and engaging.
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The building features a distinctive red brick and terracotta facade that includes mullioned and transom windows in each bay of the first and second floors.
Inside, look past the fixtures and fittings that make this building a place to lay your head on a budget but in a pretty setting, and you’ll see examples of fancy ceiling plasterwork, decorative wall tiles, cornices, wooden floors, the original staircase and, under the cladding, probably marble columns.
According to the British Listed Buildings website, the five-storey property was built in the late 19th century by famed architect Alfred Waterhouse as offices for Prudential Assurance Company, a smaller version of his offices for Prudential in London and Liverpool.
The building obtained a Grade II listing from Cadw in May 1975, updated in April 1999.
The list is attributed primarily because it is ‘a rare example in Wales of the work of this important architect’s office’.
But it’s also mentioned on the listing that the building is part of the group’s value along with the surrounding decorative period properties that provide a street scene unique to this iconic downtown road.
During its history, and more recently, the building was the housing support center for Cardiff County Council, with voluntary community service offices on the top floor.
Currently the building is Mrs Potts’ Backpackers, but now a new future chapter for this address looks set to be written, with the property up for auction with a guide price of £450,000+.
Huw Edwards, head of auctions at Seel & Co and auctioneer selling the historic building, said: “Ms Potts could easily be reopened or potentially re-let in its current layout and use.
“But also has the potential for A3 take-out use on the ground floor (granted) and redevelopment of the upper floors to provide more traditional residential use, subject to the necessary permissions.
“It is in generally good condition with some decorating and maintenance issues to address.”
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Plans to convert the office building into a backpacker hostel were conditionally approved in 2015 by Cardiff County Council.
At the time, Ms Potts’ owners described the vision for the new hostel, saying: “We wanted to do something a little different and make this one a little more upscale. It will be more small and it will be on a smaller scale than Bunkhouse.”
Cardiff council planning officers then pointed out that although the conversion is in the main commercial area, the change of use would not result in the loss of any commercial premises and would bring a ‘degree of activity’ into the street and that it was, at the time, welcome.
Described by the owners as the perfect home away from home to relax and spend hours chatting with an eclectic group of fellow travelers and friendly staff, the property offers five floors of accommodation for a new owner think.
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These levels are currently set up as 14 dormitories, with showers and toilets on each floor, and dining rooms and kitchens on the ground floor.
Ms Potts backpackers go to the online auction on Tuesday 14 September 2021 at 4pm via the Seel & Co site, for details of ownership, fees and legal pack call the auction house on 029 2037 0117.
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