Just weeks away from a deal
The café bar at the Bandstand is about to change hands, with a mystery punter just weeks away from taking over the whole seafront building, sources claim. Owners the Thorley family have told the Times they are close to a deal that would see their lease handed over to another business.
They refused to name the interested party, citing commercial sensitivity, but spokesman Phil Thorley said:
“We’re in the middle of negotiations. That’s all I can tell you. But we expect a deal very soon, hopefully within two weeks.”
Speculation about the future of the Victorian seafront building has mounted since pub boss Frank Thorley told the Times he was looking to get out of the building – and blamed the council for the excessive rent it was charging.
Council sources told the Times at the time that the Café Bar owners had threatened the council with legal action after a row over the council’s 20-year rent package for neighbouring Makcaris, which included a three-year rent-free period. After a secret meeting councillors agreed to a rent-reduction for the café bar as well.
The seafront site has been looked at by a number of Bay businessmen, including the boss of the Ship and Plough pubs, Tony Farrow, as well as Vivid nightclub owner Karl Ahmad. Makcari’s bosses the Hassan family denied they were the bidders, after speculation mounted that the coffee parlour owners would be taking over. Makcari’s boss Hassan Hassan said:
“It’s categorically not us. I’ve given up trying to keep track of who is meant to be taking it over. Most sensible people have looked at the site and concluded it’s just too expensive.”
HB Times 3rd Feb 2012