TV's Secret Millionaire, Jahan Abedi, unveils plans for the King’s Hotel in Newport

TV's Secret Millionaire unveils plans for historic Newport hotel

'NEWPORT HAS POTENTIAL': TV’s Secret Millionaire Jahan Abedi

CONVERSION: The King's Hotel in Newport

First published in Gwent news
Last updated

The King’s Hotel, in Newport city centre, is under offer and could be converted into luxury flats, if the potential new owner’s plans get the go ahead.

And the man behind the bid, one of TV’s Secret Millionaires, Cardiff-based businessman Jahan Abedi, said the time is right to invest in Newport as the city can only go one way – up.

Mr Abedi, who feels the city has real potential, is already currently converting the former Shire Hall close to the city’s railway station into luxury flats.

And says the next possible venture could be the Westgate Hotel.

He said: “I believe that Newport has the potential of being the great city as it once was a century ago.

“It was once the coal capital of the world and there is such a rich history behind it. This can be seen by the beautiful historic buildings which are dotted around the city, most of which have sadly fallen into disrepair.

“I believe that the property in Newport is heavily undervalued. The city has some structurally magnificent old buildings which would be great to work and live in.

“We cannot build these units at the prices they are being marketed as, as the labour and material costs of today would make it economically impossible.

Mr Abedi, an Iranian who moved to Cardiff 25 years ago, said: “When I first came to Cardiff it was an underfunded city and many areas were derelict and rundown. A realistic attitude from Cardiff City Council changed the city.

“I see Newport going the same way and there are plan for some major public and private investments in the city. This can only have a positive impact on the infrastructure and we would like to be part of that positive change.

Mr Abedi, who’s company Imperial Property Consultants has a number of properties along the M4, said: “We have a simple formula for our conversions. The Kings Hotel is a unique 200-year-old character building and the aim, like Shire Hall, is to convert it to create spacsious modern units without the soul of the building.

“It is a good investment because I believe Newport City Council’s new positive attitude will hopefully change the decline of the city centre and so the time is right to invest here.

Mr Abedi, who is also managing director of the Chameleon Group in Cardiff which owns venues including The Potted Pig and The Vulcan Lounge, might also to be tempted to consider the Westgate Hotel as a possible future project.

He said: “If the council does help in cutting the red tape as it has started to and make it more attractive for private investment, the Westgate Hotel must be the next step. Without its rejuvenation, the city centre decline has not been truly rolled back.”

The turnaround of the city centre took a huge step forward recently when 450 staff moved into Admiral’s new building on Queensway.

Mr Abedi said: “It is still too soon to tell what impact the Admiral building will have but some apartments at Shire Hall have been sold to people working there and with the new footbridge coming to connect Shire Hall with the city centre it is an obvious choice for them.

“I am a positive person. I started with no money when I first came to Wales and have gone through the hard times to get here. If we are positive and support the city, its hard times will pass as well. Just remember what Cardiff was like 25 years ago and what the London Docklands was like 35 years ago and look at them now.

Mr Abedi has invested substantially in the city and said: “Providing things keep improving with the council and providing we get the community support, we will continue to look for further investments in the future.”

One building he has already invested in is the former Shire Hall in Pentonville.

He said: “Shire Hall is a landmark Newport building built more than a century ago at a time when the city founders were making a statement to the world about Newport’s rise as a world trading power.

“The building and its unique features are a living testament to Newport’s past. I’ve been involved with more than 200 projects and this one is very close to my heart.

“When I first walked into Shire Hall and saw this breathtaking Edwardian building dying slowly because of vandalism and neglect, it really did affect me.

“I am passionate about property and I saw the opportunity to create something special here. The first phase will be finished next month and we have sold 80 per cent of it already. The first 10 apartments have been handed over and the owners have moved in. This proves that the demand is there in Newport for high quality, spacious conversions.

Mr Abedi said: “We are constantly looking and investing in Wales. It never stops. We are earning money in Wales and living here. The money must be invested back here to improve it.”

Comments (36)

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10:52am Tue 10 Jun 14

arjwain says...

OMG
OMG arjwain
  • Score: 6

11:06am Tue 10 Jun 14

chelsea1970 says...

If it brings economy and keep the same look to building ? I all for it anything is better than letting a gorgeous building like this go to waste .
If it brings economy and keep the same look to building ? I all for it anything is better than letting a gorgeous building like this go to waste . chelsea1970
  • Score: 62

11:59am Tue 10 Jun 14

paddyparry says...

It's good to see someone who has the vision to reuse buildings for a new purpose. Good luck to him with this. Please feel free to invest in the valleys, not just the cities.
It's good to see someone who has the vision to reuse buildings for a new purpose. Good luck to him with this. Please feel free to invest in the valleys, not just the cities. paddyparry
  • Score: 45

12:20pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Brynglas Tunneller says...

This is fabulous news for the city. Cardiff can keep all its metal and glass monstrosities. We have the real deal historic buildings here in the 'Port and now someone who appreciates these structures and has the means to do something about it-well done Jahan
This is fabulous news for the city. Cardiff can keep all its metal and glass monstrosities. We have the real deal historic buildings here in the 'Port and now someone who appreciates these structures and has the means to do something about it-well done Jahan Brynglas Tunneller
  • Score: 52

12:29pm Tue 10 Jun 14

MERoden says...

This sounds a good plan for the former Kings Hotel. It is a lovely building, but I do think that the Westgate Hotel building should be restored to it's former glory and re-opened as a hotel with a Chartist Exhibition centre in it. That Westgate Hotel is a lovely building. It has a lot of lovely unique features and it was the very place where the Chartist's march took place in 1839. The Westgate Hotel is famous for that.

There is currently no hotel in Newport City Centre. The City Centre is going through a lot of good re-generation. It would be good if a new hotel opened. I am talking a decent hotel serving good food. It would be great if the Westgate Hotel was brought back to life as a new hotel. A good hotel would bring a lot of people into the city centre.
This sounds a good plan for the former Kings Hotel. It is a lovely building, but I do think that the Westgate Hotel building should be restored to it's former glory and re-opened as a hotel with a Chartist Exhibition centre in it. That Westgate Hotel is a lovely building. It has a lot of lovely unique features and it was the very place where the Chartist's march took place in 1839. The Westgate Hotel is famous for that. There is currently no hotel in Newport City Centre. The City Centre is going through a lot of good re-generation. It would be good if a new hotel opened. I am talking a decent hotel serving good food. It would be great if the Westgate Hotel was brought back to life as a new hotel. A good hotel would bring a lot of people into the city centre. MERoden
  • Score: 38

1:01pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

This guy seems to talk a lot of sense to me. It's about time somebody came along and championed the preservation of the magnificent old buildings that we have in Newport - hope his visions come to fruition.
This guy seems to talk a lot of sense to me. It's about time somebody came along and championed the preservation of the magnificent old buildings that we have in Newport - hope his visions come to fruition. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 46

1:58pm Tue 10 Jun 14

KarloMarko says...

Although I'm usually the first to attack the hype around Newport's "regeneration", its true that it does have some really attractive architecture if you look up. Even the bottom end of town has some good c.1930s? commercial build.

Cant help thinking this should have been really capitalised on, not life sapping chase for yet more faceless malls and third division dept stores.

Newport never was and never will be say Bath, but with imagination and lot of courage it could have been greatly improved.
Although I'm usually the first to attack the hype around Newport's "regeneration", its true that it does have some really attractive architecture if you look up. Even the bottom end of town has some good c.1930s? commercial build. Cant help thinking this should have been really capitalised on, not life sapping chase for yet more faceless malls and third division dept stores. Newport never was and never will be say Bath, but with imagination and lot of courage it could have been greatly improved. KarloMarko
  • Score: 24

2:18pm Tue 10 Jun 14

jerymp says...

Very good news, just hope that he will be made to preserve as much of the original building as possible
Very good news, just hope that he will be made to preserve as much of the original building as possible jerymp
  • Score: 21

2:32pm Tue 10 Jun 14

chelsea1970 says...

A few more descent people who can see potential in this fine city of ours would make myself and a lot of other people happy . On another plus side would make our city centre more attractive to visit .
A few more descent people who can see potential in this fine city of ours would make myself and a lot of other people happy . On another plus side would make our city centre more attractive to visit . chelsea1970
  • Score: 26

2:35pm Tue 10 Jun 14

chelsea1970 says...

Surly the council would not deny him planning permission . Hope they see and realise the benefit to our city centre this would be . Thumbs up or down if u think they will agree or not ? .
Surly the council would not deny him planning permission . Hope they see and realise the benefit to our city centre this would be . Thumbs up or down if u think they will agree or not ? . chelsea1970
  • Score: 37

2:53pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Good Job No Kids says...

He said: “If the council does help in cutting the red tape as it has started to and make it more attractive for private investment"

So how much Grant money is being given out here?

I recall a grant being given out for the old rising sun on the harlequin roundabout with which the developer did a runner.
He said: “If the council does help in cutting the red tape as it has started to and make it more attractive for private investment" So how much Grant money is being given out here? I recall a grant being given out for the old rising sun on the harlequin roundabout with which the developer did a runner. Good Job No Kids
  • Score: -14

3:10pm Tue 10 Jun 14

p stani says...

Don't waste your money mate.
Don't waste your money mate. p stani
  • Score: -50

4:45pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Mike Roland says...

p stani wrote:
Don't waste your money mate.
I don't thik he'd want to be one of your mates, do you?
[quote][p][bold]p stani[/bold] wrote: Don't waste your money mate.[/p][/quote]I don't thik he'd want to be one of your mates, do you? Mike Roland
  • Score: 36

6:10pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Jinxey says...

Good Job No Kids wrote:
He said: “If the council does help in cutting the red tape as it has started to and make it more attractive for private investment"

So how much Grant money is being given out here?

I recall a grant being given out for the old rising sun on the harlequin roundabout with which the developer did a runner.
The developer did a runner? Where have you got this rubbish from?

Money was given to smarten up the exterior of the building and improve the pathway around the building for pedestrians. This happened within a few months. The building then lay empty for years after the work the grant had paid for.

If you don't believe me, I think you'll find a freedom of information request was made for information about this.

I echo the positive comments, great news. We need to ensure such historic buildings don't go to waste!
[quote][p][bold]Good Job No Kids[/bold] wrote: He said: “If the council does help in cutting the red tape as it has started to and make it more attractive for private investment" So how much Grant money is being given out here? I recall a grant being given out for the old rising sun on the harlequin roundabout with which the developer did a runner.[/p][/quote]The developer did a runner? Where have you got this rubbish from? Money was given to smarten up the exterior of the building and improve the pathway around the building for pedestrians. This happened within a few months. The building then lay empty for years after the work the grant had paid for. If you don't believe me, I think you'll find a freedom of information request was made for information about this. I echo the positive comments, great news. We need to ensure such historic buildings don't go to waste! Jinxey
  • Score: 27

6:19pm Tue 10 Jun 14

bubbles17 says...

Great news for our great city
Great news for our great city bubbles17
  • Score: 21

6:26pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Casnewydd lad says...

Great news for newport he is right, newport is on the up, slowly but on the up
Great news for newport he is right, newport is on the up, slowly but on the up Casnewydd lad
  • Score: 24

7:03pm Tue 10 Jun 14

lcu06rjt says...

"the aim, like Shire Hall, is to convert it to create spacsious modern units without the soul of the building."

* Spacious
* Surely with the soul of the building?
"the aim, like Shire Hall, is to convert it to create spacsious modern units without the soul of the building." * Spacious * Surely with the soul of the building? lcu06rjt
  • Score: 1

7:34pm Tue 10 Jun 14

arjwain says...

thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story ..
thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story .. arjwain
  • Score: -15

7:41pm Tue 10 Jun 14

DaiFrank says...

KarloMarko wrote:
Although I'm usually the first to attack the hype around Newport's "regeneration", its true that it does have some really attractive architecture if you look up. Even the bottom end of town has some good c.1930s? commercial build.

Cant help thinking this should have been really capitalised on, not life sapping chase for yet more faceless malls and third division dept stores.

Newport never was and never will be say Bath, but with imagination and lot of courage it could have been greatly improved.
This is an understatement. The architecture in Newport is quality and there is quantity making it the best that Wales has to offer. Wales, unlike Scotland, isn't known for its visual-architectural culture, but its oral culture is much richer. The architecture in Newport hasn't been exploited to showcase how beautiful many of the buildings are. It's ironic really, because Newport isn't noted for its 'beauty' especially on a Friday night! I doff my hat to this gentleman not only for his vision and passion, but also for placing his comments in a historical context.
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: Although I'm usually the first to attack the hype around Newport's "regeneration", its true that it does have some really attractive architecture if you look up. Even the bottom end of town has some good c.1930s? commercial build. Cant help thinking this should have been really capitalised on, not life sapping chase for yet more faceless malls and third division dept stores. Newport never was and never will be say Bath, but with imagination and lot of courage it could have been greatly improved.[/p][/quote]This is an understatement. The architecture in Newport is quality and there is quantity making it the best that Wales has to offer. Wales, unlike Scotland, isn't known for its visual-architectural culture, but its oral culture is much richer. The architecture in Newport hasn't been exploited to showcase how beautiful many of the buildings are. It's ironic really, because Newport isn't noted for its 'beauty' especially on a Friday night! I doff my hat to this gentleman not only for his vision and passion, but also for placing his comments in a historical context. DaiFrank
  • Score: 13

8:22pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Gooda says...

Good news for Newport. Always thought the potential of Newport can match Cardiff or Bristol. Don"t laugh!! Friars Walk, news like this and a promotion push for the County can mean a catalyst for further progress.
Good news for Newport. Always thought the potential of Newport can match Cardiff or Bristol. Don"t laugh!! Friars Walk, news like this and a promotion push for the County can mean a catalyst for further progress. Gooda
  • Score: 10

7:58am Wed 11 Jun 14

Bobevans says...

There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff
There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff Bobevans
  • Score: 1

8:10am Wed 11 Jun 14

Mervyn James says...

The Only reservation is the hotel is surrounded by drink den's and the nearby arcades are filthy and run down. They say there is a housing shortage, personally I don't think there is, there is a shortage of housing that is affordable. Newport CC Claims there are 100s of empty buildings in Newport, but no-one will make them useful because they cannot get the tenants. The issue as ever is work and people getting a wage to pay rents and mortgages. But great news, someone wants to do something about it in Newport, and has the confidence Newportonians clearly do not, the city has a future.
The Only reservation is the hotel is surrounded by drink den's and the nearby arcades are filthy and run down. They say there is a housing shortage, personally I don't think there is, there is a shortage of housing that is affordable. Newport CC Claims there are 100s of empty buildings in Newport, but no-one will make them useful because they cannot get the tenants. The issue as ever is work and people getting a wage to pay rents and mortgages. But great news, someone wants to do something about it in Newport, and has the confidence Newportonians clearly do not, the city has a future. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

9:11am Wed 11 Jun 14

jimmysmith says...

Brynglas Tunneller wrote:
This is fabulous news for the city. Cardiff can keep all its metal and glass monstrosities. We have the real deal historic buildings here in the 'Port and now someone who appreciates these structures and has the means to do something about it-well done Jahan
it wants more than the revamp of one building to sort newport out .id think a nuclear bomb would be the better option .the place is akin to a third world ghetto .
[quote][p][bold]Brynglas Tunneller[/bold] wrote: This is fabulous news for the city. Cardiff can keep all its metal and glass monstrosities. We have the real deal historic buildings here in the 'Port and now someone who appreciates these structures and has the means to do something about it-well done Jahan[/p][/quote]it wants more than the revamp of one building to sort newport out .id think a nuclear bomb would be the better option .the place is akin to a third world ghetto . jimmysmith
  • Score: -21

10:14am Wed 11 Jun 14

Jimport says...

arjwain wrote:
thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story ..
There you go, well done! Reading is good, it stops us being idiots.
[quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story ..[/p][/quote]There you go, well done! Reading is good, it stops us being idiots. Jimport
  • Score: 13

11:47am Wed 11 Jun 14

p stani says...

Mike Roland wrote:
p stani wrote:
Don't waste your money mate.
I don't thik he'd want to be one of your mates, do you?
How do you know,just giving some free financial advice.
[quote][p][bold]Mike Roland[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]p stani[/bold] wrote: Don't waste your money mate.[/p][/quote]I don't thik he'd want to be one of your mates, do you?[/p][/quote]How do you know,just giving some free financial advice. p stani
  • Score: -20

2:50pm Wed 11 Jun 14

scraptheWAG says...

Bobevans wrote:
There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff
not sure why they build new when some many disused buildings in newport - and lot of the flats down cardiff in the bay are vacant due to huge over supply they should convert all the empty buildins in newport and stop erecting new
[quote][p][bold]Bobevans[/bold] wrote: There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff[/p][/quote]not sure why they build new when some many disused buildings in newport - and lot of the flats down cardiff in the bay are vacant due to huge over supply they should convert all the empty buildins in newport and stop erecting new scraptheWAG
  • Score: 3

2:50pm Wed 11 Jun 14

scraptheWAG says...

Bobevans wrote:
There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff
not sure why they build new when some many disused buildings in newport - and lot of the flats down cardiff in the bay are vacant due to huge over supply they should convert all the empty buildins in newport and stop erecting new
[quote][p][bold]Bobevans[/bold] wrote: There is the danger of saturation development with housing in Newport as so many large developments are underway or planned. I guess though it could attract people who are priced out of Cardiff[/p][/quote]not sure why they build new when some many disused buildings in newport - and lot of the flats down cardiff in the bay are vacant due to huge over supply they should convert all the empty buildins in newport and stop erecting new scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Wed 11 Jun 14

arjwain says...

Jimport wrote:
arjwain wrote:
thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story ..
There you go, well done! Reading is good, it stops us being idiots.
well i have a go . just assumed i guess .
[quote][p][bold]Jimport[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: thought it was going to be another mosque ..until i read the story ..[/p][/quote]There you go, well done! Reading is good, it stops us being idiots.[/p][/quote]well i have a go . just assumed i guess . arjwain
  • Score: -3

8:00pm Wed 11 Jun 14

scraptheWAG says...

chelsea1970 wrote:
If it brings economy and keep the same look to building ? I all for it anything is better than letting a gorgeous building like this go to waste .
yes it is a nice building as many are in the town its a pretty that labour have let it get so run down
[quote][p][bold]chelsea1970[/bold] wrote: If it brings economy and keep the same look to building ? I all for it anything is better than letting a gorgeous building like this go to waste .[/p][/quote]yes it is a nice building as many are in the town its a pretty that labour have let it get so run down scraptheWAG
  • Score: -2

8:48am Thu 12 Jun 14

Thor at the door says...

More housing for the non-indginous majority of Newport no doubt.......
More housing for the non-indginous majority of Newport no doubt....... Thor at the door
  • Score: -8

8:50am Thu 12 Jun 14

Mervyn James says...

How has labour let it run down ? they don't own it /or the Westgate! and you would be the first to carp if they spent money on them.
How has labour let it run down ? they don't own it /or the Westgate! and you would be the first to carp if they spent money on them. Mervyn James
  • Score: 2

4:28pm Sun 15 Jun 14

bucks says...

looks like he works for SPECTRE

Ah, Mr Bond - we've been expecting you.
looks like he works for SPECTRE Ah, Mr Bond - we've been expecting you. bucks
  • Score: 0

2:32pm Mon 16 Jun 14

landyman3030 says...

If he can do half as good as the guys developing The King Billy have done it's alright by me.
I can't remember when it closed as a pub or how long the scaffolding has been up but what a marvelous achievement. It makes that area so much better to look at. As for Newport not having a hotel, well what about the Travel Lodge? It's looking well rough from outside though in a building that has had such a recent refurbishment.
There are dozens of buildings in the centre that are suitable for apartment residence development. Over many of the arcades are dozens of disused offices with internal courtyards nobody sees. Terrible waste.
If he can do half as good as the guys developing The King Billy have done it's alright by me. I can't remember when it closed as a pub or how long the scaffolding has been up but what a marvelous achievement. It makes that area so much better to look at. As for Newport not having a hotel, well what about the Travel Lodge? It's looking well rough from outside though in a building that has had such a recent refurbishment. There are dozens of buildings in the centre that are suitable for apartment residence development. Over many of the arcades are dozens of disused offices with internal courtyards nobody sees. Terrible waste. landyman3030
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Tue 17 Jun 14

nonniebevan says...

What a complete waste of a building, I agree with investing in Newport but answer me this- who will be able to afford these flats in Newport??
What a complete waste of a building, I agree with investing in Newport but answer me this- who will be able to afford these flats in Newport?? nonniebevan
  • Score: 0

10:06pm Tue 17 Jun 14

nonniebevan says...

I think it's the wrong move and I'm personally saddened that flats are an option for the building, I say decline the offer
I think it's the wrong move and I'm personally saddened that flats are an option for the building, I say decline the offer nonniebevan
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Thu 19 Jun 14

bobbajob says...

Well if this venture fails he could apply to be a Bond villain...
Well if this venture fails he could apply to be a Bond villain... bobbajob
  • Score: 0

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