Property fund targeting Cornwall

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A Cayman Islands-registered property fund is investigating the possibility of buying up several nightclub businesses in the Duchy.

EMCO Capital Advisers has launched an Alternative Property Fund and has begun to shortlist scores of ailing nightclubs, late-licence bars and beleaguered dance halls across the UK.

The fund, set up by young entrepreneur Emyr Hughes and his business partner Danny Brown, will then try to revive the venues through rebranding and refurbishment or secure planning permission to redevelop the properties as flats, shops or offices before selling them on.

EMCO, which is hoping on invest around £5 million a month on purchasing venues, is talking with chartered surveyor Miller Commercial about several nightclub businesses in Cornwall, including premises in Newquay and Penzance.

A spokesman for Emyr Hughes said: “EMCO have looked at around three dozen sites in the UK with including a particular focus on Cornwall, this is most probably down to Mr Hughes’ familiarity with the county, as he has been involved with managing nightclub venues in Cornwall in the past.”

He added: “The fund will avoid investing in, or around London, where high property values and a tough planning system make it hard for turn round investors to profit.”

Head of business transfer at Miller Commercial, Graham Timmins, commented: “Investment in the county in this sector has got to be good news. In the right hands and with the right publicity, for example social media, the fortunes of a nightclub can be turned around in a relatively short space of time.

“As a backstop the premises and land offer quite a high potential for alternative use and a good investment for operator/owners.”