A historic Coventry building, which was once the city’s courthouse and jail and is currently home to the Slug and Lettuce, is up for sale and has a guide price of £3m. County Hall, a well-known landmark in Coventry’s cathedral quarter, is being auctioned later this month.
With a guide price of £2.95m-£3m the 18th century building is one of the lots in Acuitus’ May auction. Designed by Samuel Eglinton, it is thought to be Coventry’s oldest commercial building still in use, and occupies a prominent city centre location on Bayley Lane.
Originally a courthouse and jail, today the ground floor and mezzanine of the building are occupied by the Slug and Lettuce bar while the upper floors comprise 17 student accommodation units let out by Coventry University. The investment produces current annual income of £203,316 and is being sold at the Acuitus auction on May 18.
Prior to becoming the home of the Slug and Lettuce, which opened in August 2017, the building was home to another bar and restaurant, The Establishment.
It has many historic features which have been retained in the Slug and Lettuce. They include an old dock dating from when the building was used as a court – now a VIP area – and a glass floor which shows the stone steps leading down to the old cells.
County Hall housed the city’s courts when it opened in 1783 and in modern times it lay empty for decades from the late 1980s until it reopened as The Establishment in April 2013.
Many of the building’s original features were retained back then, including the restored judge’s oak seat, the dock, the viewing gallery and the cells, which were transformed into a dining area.
During restoration work cell padlocks and keys, transcripts and judge’s notes were uncovered and they were subsequently displayed on the walls.
During the days of The Establishment customers could order a grisly cocktail which owed its name to the building’s sometimes dark past.
The Mary Ball cocktail was named after Mary Ball, the last person to be publicly hanged outside the jail in 1849 when almost 20,000 people gathered to see her execution. Mary Ball was accused of poisoning her husband
John Mehtab, investment director at Acuitus, said: “This is a substantial prominent town centre property and investors will be attracted by both the long lease on the leisure element and also the strong covenant backing the student accommodation.”
The Acuitus auction will take place on May 18th at 1pm and will be broadcast via livestream on the Acuitus website with bidding online, by telephone and by proxy.