19th century forts off Portsmouth up for sale

Eloise Hanson By Eloise Hanson
20 September 2019 | Updated 20 September 2019

UK: Colliers International are selling two historic military forts off the coast of Portsmouth, with a combined sale price estimated in excess of £8 million.

Known as the Solent Forts, the properties - No Man's Fort and Spitbank Fort - are on the market to be sold as either combined properties or on an individual basis.

Founder of the Dreams bed company, Mike Clare, acquired the forts in 2009 and 2012, spending three years redeveloping each to create two luxury hotels.

No Man's Fort is a four-star island hotel venue, with a maximum capacity of 200 guests. It comprises 23 en-suite bedrooms, staff quarters, a restaurant, five themed bars, laser battle play area and a spa.

Additionally, and spread over four floors, it also features a lighthouse with private dining, rooftop hot tubs, sauna, fire pit, hot pool, and helipad.

The entire venue is available to hire exclusively for weddings, corporate events, and celebrations.

Spitbank Fort offers upscale accommodation, with a maximum capacity of 60 guests and comprises nine luxurious suites plus staff accommodation.

It also features event spaces including a restaurant, two bars and a wine cave, an open central courtyard, rooftop terrace, sauna, fire pit, and hot pool.

"In keeping with the unique nature of the forts and aside from buyers looking to continue the current use, we are expecting and would welcome interest from buyers looking to repurpose the properties to say, ultra-private residences, corporate retreats, or exclusive use venues," remarked Paul Barrasford, director at Colliers International's Hotels Agency team. "This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years."

Colliers is inviting offers for the freehold interest in these landmark properties, and expects to announce a bid deadline soon.

The portfolio also includes a third fort, known as Horse Sands Fort, which is being sold at auction. Bids are starting at £750,000 through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.

The fort is currently being used to showcase the history of all three forts, which were originally commissioned by prime minister, Lord Palmerston, during his tenure between 1859 to 1865. Built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth, they took 20 years to build but were never used. The Ministry of Defence repurposed the forts as temporary army barracks before they were decommissioned in 1956.

The owners of Horse Sands Fort have preserved its 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages, and armour plated walls. It previously had planning permission for 22 luxury residential apartments.

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