South London water tower gives example of semi-commercial property

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A semi-commercial property is one that mixes commercial and residential use. In most cases, these are shops with flats above them, or pubs with living accommodation. However, an unusual mixed-use property housed in a 120-foot-tall water tower is being sold in Lewisham, Greater London.

According to a January 2018 article, the tower was built at the end of the 19th Century by Earnest Newman, who founded the Art Workers Guild. It is built from yellow brick and has a huge painted water tank made from cast iron. A new build block of five flats was added later and is connected to the tower by a bridge.

The water tower is on the market for £1.25m, with the top two floors leased out to telecom companies. It also has two flats, one of which is currently being used as a music studio. The building next to the tower has a further four flats, which are let on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

Prospective buyers may find that raising finance to buy the property could be complex, as many high street lenders may not offer a mortgage for the property. The telecoms business is a commercial space, the long lease flats and residential, and the shorthold lease flats are classed as buy-to-let.

A mortgage broker should be able to find a suitable mortgage to cover multiuse, though lending could be at commercial mortgage rates, which will be higher than for a standard mortgage. Many buy-to-let landlords are looking to diversify their property portfolios, and semi-commercial property like this tower could fit their business plans.

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