A Black Country property entrepreneur has gone on a multi-million pound shopping spree, saying the credit crunch has created opportunities for businessmen willing to be bold.
Lord Kultar Dale, based in Wolverhampton, has spent more than £10 million on properties around the Midlands in recent months.
And he is now planning to open a chain of estate agents in the region, saying the flagging housing market has still got enough steam in it to support a successful new business.
The first branch of Anchor Properties was opened in the Finchfield shopping precinct recently, with nine more branches planned.
Lord Dale said, who got his title from holdings in Cornwall and the Isle of Man, said: “Ten is the plan. There’s always going to be enough people who will be buying houses and letting houses and flats, always people making that type of move.
“Personally I don’t believe the recession is happening. There are problems in the market because people are talking themselves into it.
“People have always got to live somewhere.”
Lord Dale said he plans to use Anchor to buy rent and let residential property, with some commercial work planned.
Other recent purchases include the office building housing the National Express headquarters, at One Hagley Road. The building was bought from an investment firm Close Fund for a seven-figure sum and will be leased back to the current tenants.
His family firm also recently purchased a largely abandoned building on Bath Road in Wolverhampton. The building, which has been used for several different purposes over many years, has been left in need of major repair.
The business has been spending money to refurbish it into a ready-fitted restaurant business, with all the cutlery, fixtures and fittings needed for a prospective owner to move in and start up their own eatery.
A spokesman for the firm said: “The premises will be offered to someone who wants to start their own restaurant business without having to lay out large sums of money for equipment and fittings.
“This will be a good opportunity for someone to start their own business.”
Other property purchases by the family firm include several shops in the nearby village of Albrighton, and a pub in Walsall which they plan to sell on to a local construction firm for residential development.
And they have started work on a 30,000 sq ft conversion of a building in Wolverhampton which they plan to use for student accommodation.
Lord Dale said it had been a good time in recent months to buy property, with prices going down as investors lose confidence.
But he said it was still possible to get new funding for ventures, especially for a firm with a track record, adding: “The banks are there if the shrewd operators are there.”