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Business / Search for investors to turn Brough Lodge into high class retreat

Brough Lodge Trust is looking for a ‘philanthropic investor’ and has vowed to ensure the new ownership ‘benefits the Fetlar community’

BROUGH Lodge Trust is looking to attract wealthy investors to take on the project of turning the Category A-Listed building into a first-class textile and wellness retreat centre.

They have just launched a brand new website highlighting the plans for the 19th century laird’s mansion including a 3D model of the building’ potential developed by Groves Raines Architects Studio.

Trust member Drew Ratter said the centre will be aimed at wealthy tourists, specifically those who come to Shetland for the wool week from all over the world.

“There is a top one to three per cent in this market. If you can get into it and those are people who don’t concern themselves much with what things cost,” he said.

“We’ve never even looked at getting access to that section of the tourist industry.”

With the current plans the building would be open from April to October, providing all-inclusive stays for wealthy tourists.

Guests would have the opportunity to take textile and design courses. A restaurant would serve local produce showcasing Shetland’s food and drink, and a five-night stay would be expected to cost around £2,500 at 2022 prices.

The plans involve creating 24 bedrooms in new wings, meeting spaces, and an elevated restaurant.

While the trust is looking for just £30,000 to sell the property, turning Lodge Brough into what is envisaged is expected to cost more than £12 million, but Ratter said it “could be higher”.

The trust who has been looking after the building for the last years is now hoping to attract potential wealthy investors to take the project further, stating they have “taken the project as far as they can”.

The project team envisages high standard accommodation, meeting spaces and and adjacent restaurant.

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Ratter said: “This is not an investment of the type that somebody could say they’ll make 15 per cent plus and get the capital back in five years. It’s not an investment of that type.

“This has to be something that people do because they want to.”

They hope to find an investor who is ‘enthusiastic’ in Shetland’s history and culture and wants to invest in a project to showcase the islands’ heritage.

He added: “There’s a rich history and culture here that we’re fortunate to have. I could hardly imagine not being able to interest somebody.”

While the initial idea involves only textile and design courses the trust believes there is an opportunity to break into other strands of Shetland’s heritage, like music.

With the website officially launching today (Monday), Ratter said he hoped people would “get stuck in on social media” to help share the plans and raise awareness.

He said: “The more hits we get, the more buzz we generate, and the more possibility we have of somebody wanting to do this.”

The trust said they intend to evaluate and assess potential bids and investors to ensure the project goes to the right person, with a vision in line with theirs.

Brough Lodge was made wind and watertight in 2014.

Offers of over £30,000 for the land and buildings in their current state should be submitted to estate agents Harper McLeod.

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