Price Waterhouse Cooper today confirmed that the planned sale of the building currently occupied by the Forest Café has fallen through – but that the current tenants of the Bristo Place building will still be required to leave at the end of the month.
Bruce Cartwright of Price Waterhouse Cooper confirmed in writing ” that properties owned by EUS are being remarketed” and that “we have already been in contact with some parties who have expressed an interest in the property portfolio.” He also said that “The situation in terms of tenancy remains the same.” In March, management at the Forest were issued with notice that they must leave the property by August the 31st.
The award winning arts centre and social enterprise has responded angrily to the news, and say that their efforts to negotiate terms to remain in the building have been rebuffed. Ryan van Winkle, a founding member of the arts space, says that they have offered to increase the rent they pay for the building, but that they were told that they were “more trouble than they’re worth.”Mr Cartwright, however, says that he has not been informed of any such offer, and denies that a member of his team made the dismissive comment – but did say that vacating the property was a necessary step in selling the building, as all of the offers they had received were for a vacant property.
The Forest itself have been running a campaign to raise £500,000 to buy the building, and say that they have so far raised over £30,000 in donations via Pay Pal and Just Giving accounts. They hope to find a guarantor who will help them raise the rest through a bank loan, and cited owner of the Apartment and Outsider restaurants Malcolm Innes as a possible sympathetic benefactor.
But whether or not even that sum would be enough to buy the building remains in doubt – with Price Waterhouse Cooper suggesting that the market value for the property is in excess of £600-£700,000, and clearly not willing to let the ground-breaking arts organisation stay in the building whilst they look for a new buyer.