Flamboyant hotelier Keith Richardson reveals multi-million pound dreams for Torbay

Flamboyant hotelier Keith Richardson, who sold his helicopter and Rolls Royce to save his ailing hotel chain in 2018, is back in force and is investing “several million pounds” in three major projects in Torquay.

The 82-year-old has revealed he is buying the old Torbay Magistrates’ Court building on Upper Union Street and turning it into 14 housing units.

As previously revealed by DevonLive, Mr. Richardson also recently acquired the iconic City Halls across from Torquay Town Hall. He is spending another million dollars to renovate this building, with its round tower, to create 12 apartments.

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Following the boom in the travel hotel industry – Richardson owns four hotels in Devon and Cornwall – the hotelier’s biggest project is the modernization of the seafront Grand Hotel in Torquay.

He plans to go ahead with the roof elevation plans, which were granted building permission in 2007, and add a new high with between 35 and 38 apartments.

On top of that, he envisions a ‘glass box’ restaurant with stunning views of all of Torbay.

Keith Richardson in front of the Grand Hotel in 2018

He also revealed discussions with enthusiastic planners in Torbay to demolish the dilapidated garage block in the back and replace it with 20 new cabins.

And his latest dream is to redesign the ugly rear entrance to the station, making it as “beautiful and elegant” as the hotel’s white facade overlooking Corbyn Head.

Mr. Richardson, 82, said: “We’re investing several million in the whole. The biggest project is The Grand Hotel. We’re looking to build between 35 and 38 apartments.

“We’re going to raise the roof and create another story that we got permission for in 2007. We’re going to raise the roof – keeping the decorative profile – 10 feet in the air. It’s a pretty delicate job.

“And in the middle, at the top, I’m hoping to create a new rooftop restaurant by building a glass box on top. The architects’ plans are being worked out and we hope to have the plans in the next few months.

“Then the next thing is to create 20 cottages at the back where the garage block is currently located. It’s falling apart. The council is pretty excited about the idea.

“We’re really going into town on the Grand. As you look out the back of the hotel from the station, there’s a big gap – and you can see all the fireplaces, fire escapes, and stuck up stairs. outside.

“The architects are looking for a way to fill this gap and make a first impression that is as beautiful and elegant from the back as it is from the front.”

In Torquay, he recently purchased the iconic Municipal Chambers building opposite Torbay Town Hall, the municipal seat of Torbay Council at Castle Circus.

“It’s in the middle of Torquay and we’re renovating 12 apartments, which is a million pound redevelopment.

“We also buy the Torquay Magistrates’ Court and create 14 units – that’s another million.”

In 2018, his hotel group was put in the hands of directors after a court order to liquidate the company for an unpaid VAT bill of £ 600,000 by the tax authorities.

He sold the Metropole and Fowey Hotels to Harbor Hotels for around £ 18million to pay off his creditors.

And the sale of his Rolls Royce Phantom and helicopter brought in an additional £ 300,000.

Priced Out Devon - highlighting the ups and downs of the Devon property boom

It is goods – not the coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic, now the terrible pandemic is brewing towards its conclusion.

As city dwellers head to the glorious Southwest to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clearly clear winners and losers.

Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a stay boom and prioritizing AirBnb customers over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?

These are questions we will be asking in the content challenge as part of the campaign. Prices outside Devon.

But it will never be that gloomy and pessimistic.

We’ve rounded up homes under £ 150,000 in the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there will be more positive content like that here to come.

We highlight the ups and downs of the Devon property boom. Find our content here and sign up for our real estate newsletter here.

Now he has sold Banksy’s artwork from the Abbey Sands (formerly The Grosvenor) wall to Belgrave Road for a ‘six-figure sum’ in order to raise extra cash.

Mr. Richardson explained how he got back on his feet with his new lean hotel group: “I’m an insolvency practitioner. feet.

“I’m having a great year. I’ve always spent money on my businesses and have been in business for 60 years.

Mr Richardson declined to say how much he was paid for the Torquay Banksy, but confirmed that the six-figure sum was an “approximate number close to that – it’s not far”.

“It’s good to have money in my back pocket because I’m spending millions of pounds building apartments in Torquay.

“We are having a great summer and my four hotels are doing very well and I am putting everything back in place.

“What we are seeing is that people come from London on vacation and they usually go abroad and they are amazed at the quality of what we are doing – they did not think that hotels in England could be so nice and they are all booking to come back. “

The four hotels owned by Richardson Hotels are The Grand and The Abbey Sands in Torquay, The Royal Beacon in Exmouth and The Falmouth Hotel in Cornwall.

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