House Hunting in England: A Refurbished Army Fortress in the English Channel
A Fortified Circle of Luxury in Portsmouth
$5.2 MILLION (4 MILLION BRITISH POUNDS)
This circular man-made island, known as Spitbank Fort, sits about a half-mile off the southern coast of England in the Solent, a narrow waterway feeding the English Channel. One of three similar islands built by the British military during the 1860s and ’70s, the refurbished fortress has 33,000 square feet of living space covering three floors, with 12 bedrooms, two kitchens, a pool, a central courtyard and multiple leisure, event and dining areas.Spitbank Fort has played various roles since its heyday as a defense post against French ships approaching the coastal city of Portsmouth. Since being decommissioned in the 1950s, it has been a museum, a nightclub and, most recently, a boutique hotel and event space.“When you buy into property like this, you’re buying a slice of British history which is utterly unique and truly special,” said James Mackenzie, the head of Strutt & Parker’s country department, which has the residential listing.
The fort, about 150 feet in diameter, can be maintained as a hotel or converted to a private residence, said its seller, Mike Clare, an entrepreneur and developer of unique properties. “It’s like a huge yacht,” he said.
ImageThe 19th-century fort, about 150 feet in diameter, sits a half-mile off the coast of Portsmouth, on England’s southern coast. It most recently served as a boutique hotel, and is accessible by boat and helicopter. Credit…Strutt & Parker