Did world-renowned astrologer Jonathan Cainer foresee that his Haunted house at 35 Stonegate would sell for £1.8m just 12 months after he sold it for £800,000?
Possibly not. But that’s precisely what’s happened.
The Fulford-based Daily Mail astrologer, who bought the property in 1999 and transformed it into spooky visitor attraction Haunted, sold it to Oakgate Group Pension Fund for £800,000 last October so he could “keep supporting various philanthropic and charitable causes, all of which require high levels of funds”.
Now the stunning Grade II listed, 15th century building has been bought by an unnamed West Yorkshire businessman for £1.8 million (or £1.875m, if you’re going to quibble over £75,000).
An absolute gem
Miles Lawrence is managing director of Lawrence Hannah property consultancy, based on Blossom Street, York. He advised Oakgate on the deal, and said:
The building is an absolute gem, with a rich and varied history.
Miles said the Oakgate Group carried out a “very sensitive interior and exterior refurbishment programme to create superb retail space in the very heart of York”.
The property has been let to fashion, jewellery, homeware and gift retailer Oliver Bonas at a rent of £92,500 a year on a 10-year lease. That represents a 4.66% yield.
The current nearest store in the chain is 108 miles away in Birmingham.
House of the Bible
So what do you get for £1.8m in Stonegate? The building comprises three floors, a cellar that extends out under the shopping street, an attic and a ground-floor glazed courtyard.
Although the timber frontage dates back to the 15th century, the real story of 35 Stonegate began when Francis Hilyard opened his famous bookshop The Sign Of The Bible there in 1682.
The building became known as the House of the Bible, with a distinctive wooden bible still hanging over the front door.
Miles Lawrence believes the Stonegate deal demonstrates the strength of York’s commercial property investment market, adding:
A glass act
It remained a bookshop until 1873, when glass painter John Ward Knowles acquired it “and recast the whole building to suit his tastes, with splendid disregard for authenticity”, according to the Bartholomew City Guide.
The Knowles family continued their stained glass business there until 1931 and lived on the premises until the 1990s.
35 Stonegate: A timeline
1682 Francis Hilyard opens The Sign Of The Bible bookshop. A wooden bible still hangs over the front door
1873 Glass painter John Ward Knowles acquires the premises “and recast the whole building to suit his tastes, with splendid disregard for authenticity”, according to the Bartholomew City Guide to York. Much of the outstanding stained glass in the building is his work
1931 The Knowles family stop running their stained glass business at 35 Stonegate, but continue living there until the 1990s
1999 Jonathan Cainer buys the property
2004 With his friend Uri Geller, Jonathan relaunches it as the Museum Of Psychic Experience
2006 TV psychic Derek Acorah films an episode of Ghost Towns Live at 35 Stonegate and is tipped over a chair by a lively spirit. Apparently
2007 The Psychic Museum closes its doors as only 100 people a week were visiting. It is later reborn as Haunted
2014 Haunted‘s closure is announced. The final event is an all-night investigation into “what is probably York’s most haunted house” by the York Paranormal ghostbusters.
2015 Oakgate Group sells the building for £1.8m and Oliver Bonas announces it’s first Yorkshire store