Brent House is now surplus to requirements following the move of council staff to the Civic Centre but Air France still occupies part of the building and it has Vodafone and Airwaves masts on the roof. The combined income stream for the council ois£363k. This is likely to be lost on sale of the leasehold as Air France will have to vacate the building.
Brent Council borrowed £17.695m for the leasehold purchase with an annual debt charge of £1.031m. This combines principal and interest and was forecast for repayment over 40 years. (I'll leave you to work out the total cost!) The outstanding principal of the original borrowing is £16.886m - more than 3 times the Net Book Value.
The council now proposes to dispose of the leasehold but has not released the purchase figure. They do state however that the capital receipt offer is in excess of the 'property's Net Book Value on the Council's Asset Register but lower that the outstanding principal on the unsupported borrowing'.
We are left to work out that the bidder's unrevealed purchase figure is between £4.519m and £16.886m. A wide range by any stretch of the imagination and surely residents ought to be told the extent of any loss on the sale? Details are restricted and the relevant Appendix to the report no published.
The Brent Executive will decide on Monday their preferred bidder for the leasehold sale. Officers are recommending one from Stoford Ltd.
Stoford intend to convert and extend the premises to provide a 158 bed hotel, (Premier Inn) 66 homes of which 'around 22' would be affordable and 465m2 of retail with 165 parking spaces.
If that does not progress the reserve bidder recommended is Henley Homes which officers, whilst impressed by Henley's track record, questioned deliverability'.
This is a new build bid with 269 homes of which 80 would be affordable and with a bigger retail space of 1,580m2 but no hotel.
Anong the rejected bids were:
- One Housing Group, rejected as too low financially.
- Bellway Homes - scheme for 327-346 homesm rejected as over-development
- Criterion Capital - unconditional bid for conversion of exisiting building to 135-140 homes, Theye did not submit a second bid.
- Quatar Property Group - conversion of existing building to an unspecified number of homes, rejected due to relatively low value.
It does seem to me that the Council has missed yet another opportunity to build affordable homes. A hotel is also planned at Bridge Park on the other side of the North Circular with a minimum affordable home quota of only 5%.
The retail fits in with the Council's plan to have a retail corridor all the way from Wembley Central station down to the Stadium, incorporatng the London Designer Outlet. The redeveloped Elizabeth House, next to Brent House, already includes retail space which as far as I know has not yet been let. The jury is still out on the viability of the LDO.