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The Panorama building in Ashford snapped up by Israeli investor for £14m

A landmark building which is visible for miles around has been snapped up by an Israeli investor for £14 million.

The Panorama – previously known as Charter House – has towered over Ashford since opening as an office block in 1975.

The Panorama building, previously known as Charter House, can be seen for miles. Picture: Andy Jones
The Panorama building, previously known as Charter House, can be seen for miles. Picture: Andy Jones

It was converted into flats in the mid-2010s and has now been sold to the private investor in an off-market deal.

Acquired directly from housing association A2 Dominion, the nine-storey building includes 241 flats, as well as two commercial sites currently occupied by gym chain Anytime Fitness and office space provider Regus.

According to Estate Office Property Consultants, which brokered the freehold acquisition alongside Finn & Co, the new investor was "particularly attracted to the combination of capital growth and asset management potential".

The building returns £1,250,000 each year in rent, which the firm says will form a "neat addition" to the investor's existing UK portfolio.

Charter House, as it was previously known, was constructed as the headquarters for Charter Consolidated, a large British corporation with global mining interests.

Contractors are building 110 two-bedroom flats next to the former Charter House, with one block on the junction of Wellesley Road and Somerset Road and the other on the corner at Edinburgh Road. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council
Contractors are building 110 two-bedroom flats next to the former Charter House, with one block on the junction of Wellesley Road and Somerset Road and the other on the corner at Edinburgh Road. Picture: Ady Kerry/Ashford Borough Council

Over the decades it housed various commercial occupiers including Stena Line and Santander, before being converted to residential accommodation in 2013 by Dukelease and rebranded as The Panorama.

Chaim Aziz, managing director of Estate Office, described the building as a "landmark local asset".

He said: “Ashford is an area that excites our client, owing to good connectivity, a strong regional economy and appetite for development and growth from the local authority.

"We are delighted to have been involved in this transaction, which clearly demonstrates that there is continued overseas investor demand for residential-led, income-producing assets that also have capital growth potential.

"From identifying the off-market opportunity to concluding the transaction, we have been able to act swiftly to ensure a positive outcome for a client on this landmark local asset.”

The Investin Plc company is currently building 110 two-bedroom flats next to The Panorama, with one block on the junction of Wellesley Road and Somerset Road and the other on the corner of Edinburgh Road.

Charter House has towered over Ashford for decades - it is pictured here while under construction in 1973. Picture: Steve Salter
Charter House has towered over Ashford for decades - it is pictured here while under construction in 1973. Picture: Steve Salter
Dukelease developer Richard Leslie shows council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson around the site in 2013
Dukelease developer Richard Leslie shows council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson around the site in 2013
Historian Steve Salter was granted access to see progress on The Panorama and its spectacular views in 2013
Historian Steve Salter was granted access to see progress on The Panorama and its spectacular views in 2013

The development was due to be completed last year, but work is still continuing on the site.

In a separate application submitted last year, bosses revealed plans to replace The Panorama's rooftop garden with more flats, but they later revised their scheme and the gardens are set to stay.

During construction of the flats inside the ex-Charter House, former Gurkha soldiers were exposed to potentially lethal asbestos dust while working on the multi-million pound building site.

Construction work at Charter House in 1972. Picture: Steve Salter
Construction work at Charter House in 1972. Picture: Steve Salter
This shot from February 2014 shows work continuing at The Panorama. Picture: Steve Salter
This shot from February 2014 shows work continuing at The Panorama. Picture: Steve Salter
Charter House under construction in 1974
Charter House under construction in 1974

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