Today, I was walking through here and later, after a couple of phone calls went to have a look around Crocker’s Folly, a Grade II* listed building which is up for sale. It has a special place in my heart as it was one of the first places in London I performed after leaving drama school in 1984 (long story) and where I met my (future ex-)wife (even longer story).
Even that aside, it is a stunningly beautiful interior with enormous potential.
The folklore behind the building is that one Frank Crocker built the place in the late part of the 19th Century based on a mistaken belief that Marylebone station would be built nearby and that there would be a need for a large hotel and hostelry. The film Georgy Girl was shot in the surrounding area of Little Venice and I have a feeling the pub is featured in a scene.
It is a crying shame that it has stood empty and boarded up for the last three or four years. My vision would be to create an alternative music venue there: Victorian Music Hall, 1930s Variety, Burlesque, Cockney & Western, etc…
I would naturally love to blog about what goes on there once opened, but it would also make a really cool blog in the meantime talking about raising the money to buy it and the restoration and other work that needs to be done to make it habitable and sea-worthy.
I shot some footage in the most interesting bit, the pub downstairs, but there are three floors of residential opportunities above the pub as well which could provide some serious rental income if refurbished right.
The owner is asking for bids by this Friday (21st April 2006) in the region of £3million but even my untrained eye could see that one would need several hundred thousand more to restore it to a going concern. My reading between the estate agent’s lines was also that there was no big unavoidable rush, but that the deadline had been set to focus the minds of potential purchasers.
Sadly, this is too short a period for me to get a few million nicker all by myself, and anyway Debbie & I are going to Birmingham for the day. But it occurred to me that to two or three degrees of separation, I do know or am known by an awful lot of people around the world and I would really like to see how possible this is. So I throw it open to you inkernet webizens. How could we put a deal together quickly to secure this lovely space (subject naturally to acceptance of such a bid by the current owners) and make reasonable returns for investors if they want them – preferably somewhere manageable and suitably long-tail ranging from 1 investor who stumps up £3m+ and 3m investors who each stump up £1.
This does not form a prospectus or any such blah blah blah.
TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS. NO, REALLY. TELL *ALL* YOUR FRIENDS
You’re joking, right. This is one of Lloyd’s mad ideas Half right – it is one of my mad ideas, but I’m not joking. Can I put you down for say £1.50?
Are you drunk? No, nor am I on drugs. I may be otherwise mentally twisted, but not seriously so. Can I put you down for £100 then?
Don’t you realise what a stupid idea this is? No, so can I put you down for £1,000?
Do you know anything about what you’re doing… at all? No, but that’s never stopped me in the past. Can I put you down for £10,000?
Isn’t this illegal? I don’t know. I promise not to do anything illegal in the event that any of this comes off. I am not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV, but I’m not doing anything at the moment except talk about it. Of course one way you could contribute is if you happen to be a lawyer. So can I put you down for £100,000?