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Former Café Royal in Newcastle to become luxury office building with rooftop terrace and yoga studio UK News

An award-winning former Newcastle cafe is being transformed into a luxury office with a rooftop terrace, yoga and exercise studio.

Cafe Royal in Nelson Street closed last year after 20 years in business when previous owners Sir John Fitzgerald Ltd announced it would close with immediate effect. The closure came two years after winning Best Coffee at the 2018 Newcastle Awards.

After its closure, the building was acquired by MCM Investments (UK & Ire) Ltd, a property investment and development vehicle owned by Ian Watson, founder and chairman of luxury healthcare company Hadrian Healthcare.

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Mr Watson sold a number of care homes over two years in a record deal worth over £ 100million, and he used the money from the sale to drive MCM forward Investments, starting with the £ 1million transformation of the Cafe Royal building into new offices for a post-Covid world.

Spread over five floors, the Grade II listed building – tentatively referred to simply as 8 Nelson Street – will have a rooftop terrace with workplaces, a yoga studio and gym, an executive meeting room with a private dining area and a kitchen, relaxation areas.

Mr Watson said MCM’s investments drew inspiration from several high-tech offices in London, which sparked mind-boggling designs to give potential tenants a glimpse of what to expect.

A team of contractors are now working inside the listed building, stripping the interior and expecting it to be completed early next year.

It could be leased to a single tenant or to multiple small businesses, and Watson hopes it will be fully leased before construction is complete, having generated a lot of interest from potential tenants.

CGI shows how fourth floor, opening onto a rooftop terrace, will look like 8 Nelson Street
CGI shows how fourth floor, opening onto a rooftop terrace, will look like 8 Nelson Street

He said: “It is obviously an iconic building in a beautiful central location a few hundred meters from the metro station and has a very attractive facade.

“And we felt that in our time, with the changes in people’s demands for offices, we could do something really special here.

“As we get back to work, people don’t necessarily want the traditional lines of desks and open floor plates.

“We really thought about what we think people want from an office in the future, and the word ‘collaboration’ comes up over and over again. It should be a social space and not just a workspace, with plenty of opportunities for people to sit and work together, but also to collaborate with colleagues.

“This will be a place where you really want to go to the office rather than working from home. “

The building is one of several real estate investments made in the North by MCM Investments Ltd – named after the initials of its sons, Mark, Craig and Max.

The first floor mezzanine inside 8 Nelson Street in Newcastle
The first floor mezzanine inside 8 Nelson Street in Newcastle

Mr Watson said: “As a result of the creation of liquidity, we have made a natural migration to real estate and investment.

“Probably the best acquisition we have made in the past two years is Douglas Cranston, who has joined us as Chief Investment Officer and Head of Real Estate at Knight Frank.

“And through MCM Investments, we have acquired around £ 20million of property over the past 18 months. We have been very demanding and the portfolio is very diverse, with retail, hospitality, industry, offices and a number of tenants including Network Rail and Caffe Nero.

“In Gateshead, we also have the Greenway Homes development of 25 homes that are 75% sold. And we have around £ 6million of purchases going on, across Newcastle and North Yorkshire.

“MSM keeps us very busy, but if you have the right people and the right resources, it’s manageable and the people we have are very talented.

“We stay true to the ethics we have with Hadrian Healthcare, in which we must always strive for quality, whether it’s designing a home, building a nursing home, providing care in that nursing home. care, provide a meal or simply work with a tenant.

“The bottom line for us is to build a diversified portfolio of investments and in the next 18 months I think we will have around £ 40-50million in assets, but we are doing this very carefully.”