Buyer of £3.4m Royal Arcade is 'large national property firm'

The Royal Arcade has been sold for £3.375m, inset Guy Gowing of Arnold Keys

The Royal Arcade has been sold for £3.375m, inset Guy Gowing of Arnold Keys - Credit: Archant

Norwich's £3.4m Royal Arcade shopping centre has been snapped up by a "large national property firm" - but its identity still remains a mystery. 

The landmark building, which was designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899, went under the hammer last week with a guide price of £1.25m.

But following a fierce bidding war, this figure swelled to a whopping £3.375m, meaning once the deal is completed it will be under new ownership for the first time in more than a decade.

Old School Interiors in the Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade sold at auction for more than £3.3m - Credit: Archant

And while the identity of the buyer is yet to be revealed, it has been confirmed that the hopes of a local buyer were dashed by a non-Norfolk bidder.

George Goucher, of auctioneers Acuitis, said: "We were very happy with how the bidding went and it was clearly a property with a lot of interest.

"The winning bidder was a large, national property firm."

But while many of the tenants hoped the eventual buyer would be based locally, Guy Gowing, commercial partner of property company Arnold Keys, said that there were benefits to be had with a larger national owner too.

Guy Gowing, Arnolds Keys. Pic: Arnolds Keys

Guy Gowing, Arnolds Keys. Pic: Arnolds Keys - Credit: Archant

He said: "I think if somebody is prepared to bid that far above an asking price for something they likely already have something similar and know how to manage a historic shopping arcade like that.

"I do think it was priced quite cunningly to get the interest in, but it clearly takes more than one party to drive a price up so there was definitely a lot of interest in it."

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Mr Gowing added that he hoped the new owners would encourage "new and fresh faces" into the arcade to turn it into "something of a modern-day bazaar".

He said: "I think the lease terms have to be changed so it can be more 'easy in easy out' for tenants and attract that are more exciting and emerging - rather than trying to chase established brands.

"I also think it does need a bit of tender, loving care and stronger relationships being built between the new landlord and tenants - a place like that is very difficult to run from afar."