Law firm Ward Hadaway has successfully facilitated a 25-year lease for client, North East Autism Society (NEAS) enabling them move into one of Stockton’s historic Edwardian buildings.
Lawyers from the firm's Built Environment Team provided advice on an agreement, lease and underlease of part of the building, which will now become a school for 35 autistic children on Teesside.
Kiora Hall on Ragpath Lane in Norton has stood empty since October 2020, but the charity has agreed a lease with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and will invest approximately £1.3m in repurposing it for educational purposes.
Plans also include a gym complete with changing area and showers, a new reception area, an improved entrance including the creation of a ramp and steps to the front and external alterations including car parking spaces to accommodate school pick up and drop offs.
A 25-year lease was successfully agreed on the building with the council and an under lease was also negotiated with Big Local, who will lease part of the hall from NEAS.
Katy Milner, Managing Associate from Ward Hadaway’s Built Environment Team in Newcastle said: “We have worked with the North East Autism Society for a number of years and we are delighted to see the plans for bringing Kiora Hall back into use and creating this fantastic new school for autistic children in Teesside.
“Plans to convert this disused building into a school supports their wider vision to extend services across the region and create up to 250 jobs over the next 18 months.
“The transaction for Kiora Hall follows the successful legal completion of the lease of The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre in South Bank, Middlesbrough earlier this year, which is a school and community facility and one which Ward Hadaway also negotiated on behalf of NEAS."
John Phillipson, chief executive of NEAS, said: “The Kiora Hall development represents a very significant milestone in the history of the charity, and we are delighted at the progress we have been able to make with the expert support of Ward Hadaway.
“Katy Milner, especially, has done a fantastic job for us and we are grateful for her guidance and patience and helping us get the lease in place, so that we can move forward with a project that will make a huge difference to families on Teesside.”
Kiora Hall was built in 1902 and has had many uses over the years including a family home, offices, an Army gun battery, prisoner of war camp, youth club, school and community centre.