Last dance for nightclub that once housed Hollywood, Kartouche and Zest in Ipswich as new use beckons

David Ellesmere outside the former Hollywood Club in Ipswich.

David Ellesmere outside the former Hollywood Club in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

The most controversial nightclub building in Ipswich has a new owner – but its days as a music venue are likely to be over for good.

It is set to be goodbye for ever to dancing at the old Hollywood, Kartouche and Zest building on Princes Street – with a future as offices beckoning.

The borough has bought the old R&W Paul Maltings building for £400,000. And its long-term future is likely to be as part of the town’s business community.

For 20 years from the mid-1980s the building was the home of the town’s best-known nightclubs. The lower ground floor was Trader Jacks’ bar.

Zest was closed following the murder of Jimoh Plunkett in December 2006. It re-opened briefly as the Malthouse live music venue four years ago, but it has been quiet again in recent years.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the opportunity to buy the building emerged very recently, and the borough needed to make a quick decision.

He said the Victorian building, which is Grade II listed, was in basically good condition although there were a few repairs that needed to be carried out to the roof.

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Mr Ellesmere said no final use for it had yet been determined – but felt it could be attractive to businesses looking for a landmark building in the perfect location in the town.

He said: “There are many companies who would welcome the opportunity to have a slightly quirky office like this, especially technology companies.

“It’s location is perfect – next to the railway station and with some parking as part of the site.”

Although the windows had been boarded with shutters when it was used as a nightclub, these could be opened up to create a light, attractive open-plan office.

Princes Street has become the town’s main business area with new buildings planned and the refurbishment of the former Fison’s headquarters currently under way.

The news of the deal was welcomed by Ipswich Central, whose chief executive Paul Clement said: “It is an important and prominent building in the town’s business district and I welcome the fact that the borough has bought it and is looking for a new use for it.”

The borough has already cleared some of the undergrowth around the site and started planning the repairs to the roof – and with its offices just around the corner will be very nearby to ensure it is secure while it looks for a new use for the site.