Dorchester auctioneers Duke’s have unveiled plans for a new saleroom in the heart of the county town.
They have acquired the £1m freehold of
Pullman Court, an office building immediately adjacent to the
town's new Brewery Square development, and submitted plans for a
state-of-the-art auction complex. Duke's describe the project as an
"out of town solution bang in the centre of town".
Duke's, established in 1823, have been
looking to move from their two current salerooms (the Dorchester
Fine Art Showroom on Weymouth Ave and Dorchester Grove Auctions)
for some years. A number of possibilities have been considered -
including a move to Melplash Court (the source of a £3.5m
collection of Chinese antiques sold by the saleroom in 2010) - but
the firm's partners believe the Pullman Court site offers the
potential for "the ultimate provincial saleroom".
"We have been looking for new premises for
more than a decade to complement our existing operations (the firm
have no current plans to vacate Weymouth Ave), but we never dreamed
of finding them at the heart of the new town centre," said partners
Guy Schwinge and Garry Batt in a joint statement.
"For us, it represents the perfect
opportunity to grow our business and provide superb premises for
our clients to visit."
Pullman Court, a redundant three-storey
office building situated just 50 yards from the railway station,
offers over 15,000 square feet of space and has room to park 80
cars. Currently Duke's have 2500 square feet of space at Weymouth
Advised by local architects John Stark and
Crickmay Partnership, Duke's have submitted plans to create a large
reception area and offices, well-lit exhibition space, auction
galleries, secure storage and catering facilities. Externally the
building will be given a facelift to improve its dated appearance
and give it a contemporary edge to chime with the Brewery Square
development with its range of restaurants, bars, shops and
Duke's say the plans have won universal
approval at a local level and they understand that West Dorset
District Council will back the scheme that keeps one of Dorset's
oldest businesses in the town where they have thrived.
"In simple terms, it is a perfect
out-of-town solution, with plenty of parking and superb access, but
just a few steps from a vibrant new quarter of the town," Mr
Schwinge told ATG. He hopes to be operating from the building by
the third quarter of this year.