When a historical property comes on the market, it is almost always described as an ‘incredible opportunity to own your own piece of history’.
Indeed, if you are investing in a period property, you will undoubtedly be sold on the history.
But the term ‘period property’ does have its own veils of a catch-all definition to describe anything from a 16th Century cottage to a 60s build semi. It is, after all, a simple matter of semantics. Both are indeed properties, and both were characteristic of a particular period in history.
Unfortunately, these buzz words often mean that when someone is actually looking for a property with interesting history, they are often greeted with something which has had its antiquities over-sold to somehow represent something more than any other bricks and mortar structure which happens to have stood for a particular amount of time.
Basically put, the term ‘history’ has been heavily diluted to in some way bring itself to the mass market.
It seems that every time a ‘stunning period property’ comes on the market, it is an old water tower that has been re-invigorated with 30ft sheets of glass flown in from Scandinavia.
I am not saying that these properties do not have historical appeal, please let it be known that the sentiment of regenerating a long standing structure is a very good one.
However, if we’re all being brutally honest with ourselves, what is so historically interesting about a water tower any way?
No, no, history, and I mean real ‘in the history books’ history is something which deserves its own echelon of the property world.
To illustrate my theory, I present to you, the period property of Spitbank Fort.
It is unabashedly stunning in both its heritage and its form.
Creation of this astounding piece of architectural engineering began over 150 years ago, with the intention to protect the British shores from attack by enemy forces, particularly France.
Commissioned by the then Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerstone in 1867, the fort along with its three other sister forts (Horse Sand, St Helens and No Man’s Land forts) was created as a symbol of Britain’s imperial dominance at the time.
Utilised as a sea-based, armour plated gun turret, with the main purpose to pick off any trespassers who made it that far, the fort remained in varying degrees of use for almost 100 years, before being decommissioned in the 1960s.
In the time since its military use, the fort has been subjected to what can only be described as a wonderfully sympathetic restoration, ultimately transforming this former-barracks into a luxurious island retreat with nine opulent guest bedrooms, complete with restaurants, bars, staff quarters and rooftop terrace.
Granted, I doubt 19th Century guards spent much time in luxurious surroundings, however this restoration utilises almost all of the original architecture and fittings to still emulate industrial era Britain.
Obviously, there is one other glaring uniqueness to this property, that most others (outside of the Solent), would be hard pushed to re-create.
It is in the middle of the sea.
That’s right, it is pretty secluded and pretty unique in this way.
It is probably this which has made the fort so popular with tourists and those who are attending nearby events like the Cowes Regatta and Goodwood.
Alongside its sister property, No Man’s Fort, which is also currently operating as a luxury hotel, offers are invited for the freehold interest in the property and businesses on either an individual or combined basis.
A deadline for submission of offers is expected to be announced in the near future.
For the investment potential alone, this fort is an attractive prospect, but when you take into account the calibre of historical interest, the accurate renovations, the exceptional individuality and the established business herein – this investment opportunity looks as safe as a fort in the middle of the sea.