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See inside a former Norwich MJB hotel which has been given a £675,000 makeover

PUBLISHED: 21:47 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 22 February 2019

Ben James has completely renovated the former MJB Lodge Hotel site on Unthank Road, Norwich to create No. 82 The Unthank. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Ben James has completely renovated the former MJB Lodge Hotel site on Unthank Road, Norwich to create No. 82 The Unthank. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

A former MJB hotel that once had some of the lowest customer ratings in Norwich has been given a £675,000 makeover.

The Lodge, on Unthank Road, used to be the source of multiple complaints about drug taking and prostitution while under the ownership of the MJB group.

But in 2017 it was purchased by developer Ben James, who has now refurbished the building in a bid to attract a different type of clientele.

Mr James, from Estateducation, said: “When we picked up the keys to this building it was not what I would call in the best condition. “We were facing black walls, black ceilings, mouldy carpets and rats coming out of the toilets.

“It was, what I would consider, a dire state of affairs.”

Ben James has completely renovated the former MJB Lodge Hotel site on Unthank Road, Norwich to create No. 82 The Unthank. Picture: Neil DidsburyBen James has completely renovated the former MJB Lodge Hotel site on Unthank Road, Norwich to create No. 82 The Unthank. Picture: Neil Didsbury

He said £600,000 had been spent on construction costs while a further £75,000 went on furnishings.

The property will be made up of 19 serviced apartments, and will include an on-site gym and concierge service.

Mr James said he hoped to attract corporate or business travellers and will charge around £100 per night.

He said: “The apartments are fully furnished and fully equipped. The reason we do that is because we are looking for corporate and business travellers, as well as tourists, to make long stay bookings for up to a month.”

No. 82 The Unthank on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyNo. 82 The Unthank on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The property, now known as Number 82 The Unthank, sits across the road from another former MJB hotel that was also purchased by Mr James - Bristol House.

Much like The Lodge, complaints had previously been raised about anti-social behaviour linked to the Bristol House hotel before it was taken on by Mr James.

Last year he was granted planning permission by Norwich City Council to convert the property into a 26-bedroom home, with a gym, cinema room and communal area.

Mr James said: “The reason I have invested a lot of time and money into Norwich is because I can see the growth that is going to occur in the area.”

No. 82 The Unthank on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyNo. 82 The Unthank on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Are you renovating an old building in Norwich? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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