From gravel pits to public toilets, quirky pieces of land can be transformed into big profits

PUBLISHED: 07:45 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:32 29 June 2018

"I have seen a gravel pit become a target shooting club, public toilets become luxury flats, and a sea fort become an internationally known boutique hotel," says Alex


The quirkier the property, the greater the chance of incredible yields says Alex Harrington-Griffin, Land Director at land selling platform TrustedLand.

Alex Harrington-Griffin of TrustedLandAlex Harrington-Griffin of TrustedLand

From graveyards to MOT garages, football clubs to World War II forts, all kinds of sites can prove valuable as property developments.

The vision that a developer or professional brings to a property can mean the difference between £10,000 and £1 million in value, but experience and determination is required to really deliver the true value and creativity that development provides. And some luck.

If you’re looking to buy land as an investment, considering plots or uses that have good potential for redevelopment is definitely where the greatest opportunity for profit lies.

There is always the planning challenge, though buying an old warehouse on the edge of a town industrial estate and setting it up as a soft play or trampoline park for children is where a lot of landowners have realised fantastic yields and value in the past few years. Similarly town centre basements have become popular for indoor leisure ventures such as mini-golf or ping pong. Who would have thought it.

Every site also has its quirks, whether it’s contamination, overlooking neighbours or existing wildlife, and it’s those that can override these hurdles and be repurposed that will see the greatest increase in value.

High street demand is changing dramatically in front of our very eyes, with everything from laundrettes to office buildings and pubs to banks becoming housing, which will often carry a greater land value. Be mindful, it’s not as simple as saying a magic word, and it will take some good guidance from a professional.

One of TrustedLand’s commercial agent partners, Watford-based Smiddy & Co, have seen a fair few odd spaces realise value in their years of local service, including seeing a car park turned into a Jiu-jitsu club.

They found a buyer for part of the car park - a type of land which tends to hold a very modest value - who then obtained planning for a new 3,000 sq ft workshop for their own use and installed a mezzanine floor which Smiddy & Co then let as a martial arts studio.

I have also seen a gravel pit become a target shooting club, public toilets become luxury flats, and a sea fort become an internationally known boutique hotel.

The more quirky and unique one goes, the greater the chance of profit and incredible yields, although ensuring you have a buyer or tenant secured for that exact use is key to pulling it all together.

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