'˜Investor' snaps up London Hatter at auction for £900,000

The site of a former pub has been snapped up at auction for £900,000, the Luton News can reveal.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 10:00 am
London Hatter, Park Street

The London Hatter, on Park Street, Luton, closed its doors for the last time on February 21 after JD Wetherspoon decided that it was no longer financially viable to run.

Last Monday (March 21) the site’s freehold went under the hammer and achieved the upper end of its £850,000-£900,000 guide price.

The Luton News understands that the buyer was a family-run private investment firm based in Elstree, near Borehamwood.

Though JD Wetherspoon no longer operates from the site it still leases the property for £61,000 a year.

The let agreement will expire in 2041 – though JD Wetherspoon has the option to determine the lease on March 24, 2026, with six months notice.

It is understood that the pub chain is looking to sub-let the property through realtor CBRE, in order to negate the cost of the lease.

Last week’s auction of the freehold included the site’s ground floor, five parking spaces and one upper floor.

The former pub is part of a larger building, the remainder of which was not up for sale.

Speaking exclusively to the Luton News, a former landlord of the site, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I think it will remain a pub, I can’t imagine it will change.

“I doubt it will become a Poundland or something like that as Wetherspoons spent a lot of money on it.

“If Wetherspoons were in operation it would have got a lot more (than £900k).

“For them (the buyers) they will get guaranteed rent for ten years.”

The London Hatter first opened in July 2011 after a £960,000 refurb of the building which used to operate as Legends nightclub.

Over the years the pub featured in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide for the quality of its selection.

Its staff have been re-employed at other JD Wetherspoon pubs.