This report contains a study and business plan I carried out in 2012, for redevelopment of a building called “The Contented Pig” in Fratton, Portsmouth (which no longer exists) into a micro mall with multi-brand high-quality fast-food (such as a falafel bar, ice cream parlour, fish & chips), a minimart and small shops, with a minor community function.
I approached the owner who liked the plan and was willing to give me a year’s free rent, but I needed a suitable British business partner (to get the financing, for instance). I’d hoped the owner would be able to take on that role, but he is a very busy entrepreneur and as it’s really extremely hard to build up a network in (southeast) England, unlike in other countries, I didn’t know anyone else who might be able to partner up. (Try to have a conversation with your neighbours here and they may even call the police and complain about harassment. Ha!)
I spoke with someone from the planning committee once or twice, over the phone, attended one of the planning committee’s meetings, to get an idea of how it works, and I also tried to get one or two city council members interested.
I noticed so many beautiful empty buildings on my walks through Portsmouth and asked myself what could be done with them; that’s mostly how this came about. (I was not able to do much work for a while because of neuromusculoskeletal complaints of shoulders, arms and hands, so I walked a lot.)
Btw, please ignore the funny typos in part of the report. My electronic equipment is plagued by strange poltergeists.
I also looked into the former Havana Bar/Portland Hotel, in Southsea. That was less suitable for this specific plan – the Fratton location was much better – but could have worked well with a slightly different version of this plan (and maybe a combination with, say, a salt cave and part hotel, to draw in people from elsewhere to the salt cave). That’s being remodelled into dwellings right now.
At least other suitable buildings – though less suitable, less characteristic – have been torn down in the meantime; one was half demolished and half converted into a small supermarket, off the top of my head.
I am making this plan available now, just in case someone can still put it to some good use. I also have a generic version of this report available (not for a specific building), for anyone who still wants it. I also still have a personnel plan. Anyone who wants to do something like this and would like me to help get it going, contact me. I come from a retail family background and have worked in food & beverage establishments, for instance at Amsterdam Central Station.