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Published on: For Sale

What a Hole….

I’ve sold quite a few properties in a career spanning nine UK prime ministers. That career would seem a lot shorter had the Conservatives not been playing musical chairs in the last five years.

On a few occasions, I am invited to sell a property that is…. how shall we say… not very attractive? A hole.

So when a long-standing solicitor friend called and asked me if I could sell a hole, I was not immediately enthusiastic, but he thought I should listen – and so I did.

Turns out it was a 90-acre hole. I have since learnt that holes of this size are called quarries and this one was full of limestone and large deposits of many minerals – almost all of which I had never heard of. So obviously, I was ideally qualified to market and sell this property.

Ball Eye Quarry is just outside Matlock in the Derbyshire Peak District. For those that know the area, it is next to Gulliver’s Kingdom Theme Park and close to the Heights of Abraham. For those that don’t, it’s in the middle of nowhere – which is probably the best place for a quarry.

Apparently, parts of the quarry dated back to Roman times but more recently it had been worked for limestone for more than 50 years up to 2014. Despite that, 13 million tons of limestone remained to be extracted. I have since learned what an extracted ton of limestone is worth and the sums are eye-watering.

So my job was to find a buyer. Now, we keep meticulous lists of contacts and their property requirements but I was shocked to learn that we didn’t have a single one looking for a quarry.

So the Intali research team (shout out to Luc) went to work to find out where we were likely to find a buyer and, by the time we launched the marketing, we had 70 potential purchasers and received so many bids that we had to go to ”full and finals”.

Now I have to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what the quarry was worth but the owner said an off-market sale had recently fallen through and, as long as he got more than that, he would be happy.

We got him 25% more – which got me out of a bit of a hole………

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