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Former owner of First Floor Club in Ipswich returns to see new look

PUBLISHED: 08:14 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:14 11 October 2017

Former nightclub owner Ken Bean,with  Charlotte Fogel, Joe Fogel and Levi Draycott at the official opening of the new apartments in the former First Floor Club

Former nightclub owner Ken Bean,with Charlotte Fogel, Joe Fogel and Levi Draycott at the official opening of the new apartments in the former First Floor Club

Archant

Former Ipswich nightclub, The First Floor Club, and Fire & Ice, has been transformed into new homes.

The former nightclub is now Charlotte House and converted into town centre apartments, in Tacket Street, Ipswich The former nightclub is now Charlotte House and converted into town centre apartments, in Tacket Street, Ipswich

There has been the last spin of the turntable, the final rotation of the glitter ball and the song Band Of Gold has been heard for the last time on the dance floor of the former First Floor Club in Ipswich.

The First Floor Club, above the street level in Tacket Street, was the premier nightspot in the town in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now it has gone and the building has been transformed into apartments by owner Joe Fogel.

Businessman Joe Fogel bought the building at auction a year ago and now, named Charlotte House, it has been turned into 17 apartment homes.

Charlotte House, the former First Floor Club apartments, Tacket Street, Ipswich Charlotte House, the former First Floor Club apartments, Tacket Street, Ipswich

Owner Joe Fogel bought it at auction last year and the project, named Charlotte House, is now virtually complete.

There are two front entrances now - not just the stairs that clubbers climbed to be allowed in for music, dancing and entertainment here.

Charlotte Fogel, Joe’s wife, was joined by the former owner - when it was the First Floor Club - Ken Bean for the official opening.

And Ken was taken on a tour of the new homes.

He said: “It is amazing to see what has been done. I have been in property development myself over the years, in Ipswich and I can really appreciate this.

“It is the same building - but everything has been improved inside.

“I bought the club in 1966, the year England won the World Cup and we had some great years here. We had a casino, and live acts too - all the top comedians of the time came here.

“We were open seven days a week. But times changed in entertainment and it was time to move on.

“I had ambitions to do a project like this - but I invested elsewhere in the town, and was quite successful.”

At the rear of the building he stepped out to see where there will be a roof garden to serve a couple of apartments.

There will be 17 homes spread over the three upper storeys, mostly two bedroom apartments with some studios, and with commercial space remaining at street level.

The businessman is doing this project with his House Group Development company, and local builder Levi Draycott.

The exterior of the building has been restored; the exterior brickwork at the front steam-cleaned, with new double glazed windows throughout and the roof renewed.

The top floor of the building hadn’t been touched for many years, said Joe.

“It was probably where the family and staff lived, when it was a department store,” he said.

“It has been a big job but we are pleased with it.”

After Ken Bean sold the club it had a second life as a disco club, as Fire & Ice which ran through until 2010, when it closed.

This new project brings the landmark building back into use, and provides new town centre homes.

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