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Accrington entrepreneur sees a future for area
AN INTERNET entrepreneur has delighted the community leaders by building up his property portfolio and investing in Accrington.
Businessman Graham Easton bought an office block in James Street and two derelict properties in Warner Street for a total of £90,000 at auction before renovating them to a ‘high standard’.
The 44-year-old co-founded TravelShark, which is a company whose software collates restaurant and hotel reviews on the internet and compiles a list of the most popular words used to describe them.
Mr Easton, who splits his time between Turkey and Singapore, where TravelShark has offices, hopes the company will sell for ‘nine figures’ within the next 12 months.
He described his purchase of the three buildings, which date back to the 1800s, as ‘test cases’ and said he couldn’t see any downside to buying them.
He said: “I had never been to Accrington before but I could tell from wandering up and down James Street on Google Streetview that number 28was a superb, high quality building which would have been expensive in its day.
“It’s in a nice street. It was advertised for £100,000 but I was able to buy it for £50,000.”
Using local building company, Rejuvenate Property, Mr Easton completely renovated the property. The two properties in Warner Street, which cost Mr Easton £20,000 each at auction, are still being revamped by the company. One will become a shop while the other will become two apartments.
Mr Easton added: “They are a test case. I’m getting to know the buildings, the councillors, the way the processes work because ultimately I will do well when TravelShark sells and I will return to the UK and continue to do this.”
Leader of the opposition at Hyndburn Council, Peter Britcliffe, said he was delighted at the investment.
He said: “I think it’s wonderful news that somebody is investing in Accrington.
“On a sunny day, Accrington can be a lovely place. There are some buildings of great character.”
Company owner, Duncan Worthington, said he has had to expand his business since starting work for Mr Easton.
He said: “It’s been really easy going. He leaves us to it and is open to suggestions. I could not ask for a nicer person to work for.
“It’s important that the work is of a high standard because it means we get more work and he gets tenants in faster, so it’s good all round.”
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