In the interests of ensuring that this blog is an accurate record of my search for the next pub I will share the weekend with you.
The current target has taken on a sudden urgency with the vendor wanting to complete before end of February. Given the delays and difficulties in getting this far the sudden urgency is a nuisance that I could do with avoiding but, as they say, if it was easy….
The outsider in terms of reports was the stonemason but he turned it around in record time and has ended up being the only report received in time. I know the surveyors issues and roof work is something that I am more comfortable estimating.
This weekend I managed to avoid the issue of a deadline for offers today by getting stuck into plumbing. Yesterday was D day though and I settled down with a glass of scotch and a calculator. This is the step into reality and, despite the length of the search, it is a big step. Looking at spending every penny on a project that is so far away and in a trade that is so embattled really hits home when you are looking at numbers.
One offer already exists so that pretty much pins the low end of my offer. I could come in below this and hope that the other offer is weak but that is a dangerous move so the question is how much should I raise the bar? Obviously any saving is welcome as it will help the long months of renovations and the slow build of trade. But if I come in too close and the other offer is strong then I may lose.
I generated my number and in it went. This morning I received a call telling me that it’s a positive offer and will go forward with the agents recommendation subject to all of the usual proof of funding etc. There is lots of watch this space but the culmination of all of the first stage work is sitting in a rather simple email the response to which could determine the rest of my life.
I spent an excellent couple of hours yesterday discussing the potential of the broadway. Obviously I cannot move straight into this venue but, with slow progress being made, I think that I could run it under a manager. The thing with operating under a manager is that the business is only being held that means that it isn’t growing but also that it’s prone to attack from competition. But if an opportunity presents then it may give the resource I need to cover the remaining pause time.
The broadway is an interesting building and offers at least three, probably four, letting rooms which is a big plus for me. Despite the best eyes in the business we can’t fathom the financials on the business which, of course, means we can’t arrive at the asking price. A combination of google earth, two sets of sales details and Facebook allowed us to conclude that the ground floor cellar led to a horrible pipe run to the central bar, probably installed when beer was cheap. The trade route to the cellar appears to be equally unpleasant and at odds with the suggested alternative use for the adjoining land.
Some careful zooming revealed a pub that suffered from an instability in its base offer with more font changes than a supermarket shelf. My plan for any venue would stabilise the base offer and return to community use so that side of things is covered. The trading area is split into what, despite the sales details, could be reasonably classed as 30 and 45 cover areas, one served by the bar and the other used for dining. The premises includes a post office but no value, either community or fiscal is associated with it. If the post office stays it needs to move for practical and logistical reasons but I’m not sure post offices are as essential nowadays. I am sure that community banking services and internet assistance could provide the same services without the complications of working for the GPO.
With only three pubs in the area and a large number of chimney pots the trade should be good, although the figures would seem to disagree. Based in a village that has lost the majority of its services I am feeling a ‘pub is the hub’ opportunity to trade larger purchases and maximise the benefit of economy of scale. A “higher than average welfare dependency” seems to be a natural result of “coastal” so is not a cause for concern and I am sure that with the higher value homes in the area there is support for a community asset.
As you can see there has been a lot of thinking. Andrews office is awash with scribbled plans and rough figures which replicate what is going around in my head. This venue was on the market a couple of years ago ( pre pause) but got taken off when I enquired as to financials. I think, as is common in this trade, that a good weekend teased the vendors into staying a bit longer. Are they serious this time? Who knows. In the licensed trade there are a lot of people who want the reassurance of purchase offers as validation of what they are doing. I think that this justifies a re-engagement with my estate agent and a discussion as to intention and expectation, who knows maybe a viewing …….