All current office space has been let at the historic Phoenix Works, Longton.
Now, with work set to begin on restoration of the bottle ovens as a part of the final office spaces, owner Mark Milner has decided to market the neighbouring courtyard at the former Thomas Forester pottery works as a potential housing development.
Known as 500 King Street, the three storey 15.000 sq. ft. space with a courtyard and additional three storey building at the rear could help to spark town centre living in Longton, said Mark Milner, and lends itself to conversion into flats or even an elder persons village.
“We have the Glost House, an attractive café here, and a second outdoor courtyard with seating area. It’s also very close to a large retail park which includes a Tesco Extra superstore, and there will be pedestrian access to Longton Railway Station which has been earmarked for major improvements in the city council’s recently announced transport plan.
The buildings are being marketed by Festival Park based agents Mounsey Chartered Surveyors at a guide price of £375,000. The agent describes 500 King Street as a heritage site and the online brochure adds that the front three-storey building has already undergone significant restoration including repointing, new full glazed doors, window restoration, rendering of the ground floor and roof restoration.
The Phoenix Works has been in Mark’s family for many years and has been carefully restored over the past decade through his development company Kirklands Properties Ltd. Current occupiers include the popular Glost House café bar and companies including Centiel and Yes Lease Ltd.
Mark said: “We have worked on the project over a long period of time, restoring buildings as demand became available for them and, in recent months, we have looked at how to realise the ambition of developing the second courtyard, which is currently disused.
“Following consultation with planners and architects, we now believe it lends itself best as a residential development and we have asked Mounsey, our regular agents to test the market.
“I am not a housing developer and this allows me to concentrate on plans to renovate a two-storey building in the far corner of the developed courtyard. It consists of around 6,000 sq. ft, of usable space over two-floors and features two historic bottle ovens, which we aim to incorporate into the offices as a character feature.
“We are also looking to make major repairs to the tall chimney on site, a Longton landmark, which requires careful, specialist work.”
“Then we face a further challenge as Portmeirion recently announced the closure of its factory outlet at the Phoenix Works and this unit is currently being marketed to let by Mounsey.”
Last year saw Mark complete an attractive outdoor seating area in the courtyard.
The Phoenix Works site was built by Thomas Forester in 1881 and was a major producer of Majolica pottery at that time. It later became home to a range of small potbanks before manufacturing tailed off in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mark said: “My family took ownership of the works in the early 1960s and there used to be around 20 to 30 small pottery companies operating from the site, all manufacturing their own individual wares. I recall collecting rents from the potters as a teenager, but over the years, the businesses disappeared and the buildings fell into disrepair.
“We began the restoration around a decade ago and a lot of time and money has been invested in preserving the original features and ensuring the Phoenix Works’ special character is retained. We’ve worked closely with conservation planners at Stoke-on-Trent City Council along with heritage architects Chris Taylor Design of Leek.
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