Former South Wales pop business headquarters sells at auction

AN historic building which was once at the epicentre of South Wales fizzy pop distribution has sold at auction.

The full tenanted, three storey, former South Wales headquarters first of Thomas & Evans and latterly Corona and Beechams soft drinks is in the former coal mining town of Porth.

The mixed-use development has six retail units on the ground floor with a gym, boxing ring, sports bar and two residential flats, on the upper floors .

Debra Bisley, of Newport-based Paul Fosh Auctions, said: “This celebrated building, which we sold for the current owners after almost 40 years of ownership, is steeped in history.

“The fully tenanted property currently achieves an annual income of £39,507. So, based on the guide price of £225,000, this is a 17.56% yield. Ground floor retailers include an independent nail bar, tattooist, discount shop, butchers and therapist. Additionally there is national clothing retailer New Look.

“There was keen pre auction interest in the property which eventually sold for £291,000 after attracting 51 bids from six different bidders. The majority of tenants are long standing who have been on statutory periodic tenancy agreements for a number of years. The tenants have recently signed fixed term tenancies for their own security in anticipation of the sale.

“The property has been in the vendors family for approximately 38 years but the vendor is now selling as they wish to retire.

“Located in a prominent high street position the property is ideally situated on the main shopping thoroughfare in the town of Porth. The street stretches approximately 400 metres with an eclectic mix of retailers, cafes, hair salons and banks. The street benefits from plenty of footfall as well as free, one hour on street parking.”

The town of Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf, is some 15 miles north of Cardiff and the M4 motorway. The property is located within close proximity to local bus routes. Porth railway station is approximately a 10 minute walk away. The area is currently undertaking a regeneration programme which includes providing a transport hub for the town which aims to improve connectivity to the centre.

There was previous planning consent for four apartments and two bedsits but this has now lapsed. Grants may be available for this property for up to £2,000 per shop front  for renovations to improve the appearance of the street. Contact the local council for further information. There is also the possibility of grant funding for the conversion of the flats subject to planning permission.

Previous owner and vendor James Southgate says the top of the front of the imposing building reveals some of its history.

Mr Southgate said: “There are the initials T&E picked out in gold, and the date 1905. These initials refer to William Thomas and William Evans, both from Pembrokeshire. The pair produced bottled soft drinks which they distributed from their headquarters in Porth throughout South Wales under the name Thomas & Evans.

“The partnership was financed by William Thomas who lent £238 for the enterprise at the princely interest rate of 50 per cent.

“The property, 20-25 Hannah Street, Porth, was Thomas & Evans and Corona’s head office. The three upper floors were used as offices while the ground floor was used for shops.

“The pair of Pembrokeshire businessmen eventually sold out in the 1950s to Corona who were in turn bought up by Beechams.

“My family owned the property for near on 40 years. The building has a long history and means a lot to many people, especially locals, as it does to me and my family.”