Work starts to convert empty Lowestoft store featuring Banksy mural
- Credit: Mick Howes
Contractors were starting work this week to convert an empty town centre store that features a mural created by the world's most famous street artist Banksy.
The former Lowestoft Electrical building has been withdrawn from sale as the owner of the property presses ahead with conversion plans for inside the vacant store.
The building on the corner of London Road North and Regent Road in Lowestoft had gone on sale for £300,000, but was withdrawn on August 13 so the owner could consider his options - after Banksy confirmed that he was behind the artworks in Suffolk and Norfolk as part of the Great British Spraycation.
A protective screen was installed on the artwork - which depicts a child with a crowbar next to a sandcastle and lifted paving slab - in August, with the broken paving slab having now been replaced and the sandcastle removed.
Having been put on the market once more at the end of August with a new price tag of £500,000, it became the 'property of the week' with Steel & Co Commercial Property Services, based on Lowestoft High Street.
But this week, estate agent Danny Steel said the London-based owner "now has contractors in" doing the conversion work, and it has been taken off the market again.
The former Lowestoft Electrical shop, which closed its doors in 2018 after 65 years of trading, has been sold twice before.
A scheme to convert 127 London Road North in Lowestoft into three ground floor retail units and eight flats to the first and second floors was approved by East Suffolk Council in May 2020.
And now, work has started on a scheme to convert the "significant retail unit" in Lowestoft town centre, which could be unveiled by the summer next year.
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Mr Steel said that despite there being "masses of publicity" surrounding the Banksy artwork as the public flocked to see it, and the property subsequently going on sale - with coverage nationally, on television, radio and "even in The New York Times and the Sydney Morning Herald" - there had been little interest from perspective buyers.
Mr Steel said: "It has been great for the town, without a doubt.
"The man who owns the property now has contractors in there doing the conversion work, and it has now been taken off the market.
"The contractors are in this week and work is under way for eight flats and the three commercial units.
"All going well, hopefully this will be completed at end of the spring or the early summer next year."