Unique North Wales Theatre, Events Venue and Restaurant Goes on the Market
A former county hall and court in Caernarfon, North Wales, which has been transformed into a unique theatre, events venue and restaurant, is up for sale. The Old Courthouse, which is Grade I-listed and opposite Caernarfon Castle, a World Heritage site, is being marketed by commercial property estate agent Ernest Wilson with an asking price of £1.3m.
Built in 1863, the Courthouse was the seat of justice in Caernarfon until 2009 when the courts moved to new premises. In 2012 the building was sold to a private developer and converted into an eight-bedroom house before it was acquired in February 2018 by freelance musician Moira Hartley, as the perfect venue to bring her vision of creating a theatre with dining to life.
Hartley embarked on a two-and-a-half-year renovation project, transforming the domed Crown courtroom into a theatre, the Magistrates’ courtroom into a 60-cover restaurant and the Witness Room and cell area on the lower ground floor into a bar, along with artistes green room, artistes dressing rooms and stores.
Cellist and keyboardist Moira Hartley is selling the unique venue to return to her musical career which has seen her tour nationally and internationally with West End musicals including Evita, The King and I, West Side Story and South Pacific. She also works as a rock and pop examiner for Trinity College, London.
Moira Hartley said: “I had a long-held dream to create a unique venue, one where people could dine whilst enjoying the cultural arts, one that would both serve the local community and attract visitors from further afield. I have devoted over four years of my life to this project, unexpectedly taking on - and surviving - the pandemic and now it’s time to pass this unique and historic building, with its vast potential, to the next owner.
She added: “Covid brought my life to a standstill – one night I was part of the pit orchestra with a touring musical theatre production, the next day we were sent home as all theatres closed. The renovations were also suspended but miraculously the building was ready to open as the first lockdown lifted, initially as a restaurant rather than a theatre, due to the restrictions. The future looks much brighter now and there is enormous potential for The Old Courthouse. We’ve seen increased bookings for private hire, conferences and all manner of events, including album launches, TV recordings and weddings. In the hands of an ambitious new owner, the sky is the limit.”
The property, which stands at over 5,000 sq ft, is fully licensed for the sale of alcohol and provision of live and recorded music, plays, dance and film showings. It hosts weddings, events, meetings and conferences. It also comes with planning permission for the conversion of the first and second floors into one or two luxury apartments.
Mark Czajka, director at Ernest Wilson, the specialist commercial property agent that is marketing The Old Courthouse, and which buys and sells hundreds of businesses across the UK every year, said: “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a completely unique and historic property with an exciting future. The potential for this popular and successful venue is hugely evident, especially given the outstanding refurbishment of the building, its fit-out and its opulence.
“Given the magnificence of this building, along with its stunning location, The Old Courthouse has the potential for many uses and subject to planning, could be converted into a boutique hotel or become a magnificent and prestigious dwelling.
“This is a fantastic business opportunity at the heart of the community, and needless to say we have already had a great deal of interest from prospective buyers.”
Ernest Wilson was founded in 1956 and specialises in buying and selling hundreds of small businesses every year, from fish and chip shops to convenience stores and hotels.
Anyone interested in the sale of The Old Courthouse should contact the Leeds head office of Ernest Wilson on 0113 238 2900.