Top lot! Interest hotting up in Royal Arcade

Norwich's Royal Arcade Picture: Antony Kelly

Norwich's Royal Arcade Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A new owner for one of Norwich's most recognisable buildings should not be hard to come by as its £1.2m auction looms.

That is the view of experts ahead of the Royal Arcade going under the hammer at the tail end of next week.

The George Skipper-designed shopping arcade, which first opened its doors in 1899, is being auctioned off by Acuitis after current owners Legal & General agreed to put it up for sale.

It has prompted calls for an investor to take the centre forward and breathe new life and ideas into it.

And with a guide price of £1.2m, property experts around the city feel it won't be short of potential suitors.

Carol Cooper, of chartered surveyors Francis Darrah, said her team had already received "quite a few" enquiries from people who would potentially be interested in taking it on as a project.

She said: "It is an amazing building - one of Norwich's flagship properties and it seems to have been set at a price that will attract interest - we've already had a few enquiries about it.

"However, whoever purchases it will have to think about a lot more than just the price. There's also rents, charges and rates for them to consider.

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"I would love to see somebody local invest in it as it will need a lot of maintenance, but if it has that local interest it could build up a really strong brand identity from being regenerated."

Likewise, Paul Burrall, formerly of civic watchdog the Norwich Society, is keen to see the arcade become an epicentre of local independent trade.

Paul Burrall, vice chair of the Norwich Society. Pic: Norwich Society.

Paul Burrall, formerly of the Norwich Society, thinks there will be plenty of interest in the Royal Arcade - Credit: Norwich Society

He said: "It is one of the most unique things about Norwich so I strongly hope it will be really invested in.

"The price does not seem that great for a building of its size and stature so I can see there being a fair bit of interest in it.

"I think lots of people walk through there every day, but I would like to see it become more of a destination and less of a cut-through.

"It is in a great location in the centre of the city so could also be put at the centre of the tourist sector."