Blackpool Council has acquired the 400,000 sq ft Houndshill Shopping Centre for £47.6m, and is planning an extension to the centre which could include restaurants and a cinema.
The council said it had been in discussions for some time regarding the future of Houndshill with the previous owner, BCC Eiffel and its funders Waypoint and New Frontier.
The council decided to step in following the appointment of receivers who took over the running of the centre several days ago.
The purchase price of £47.6m is less than half the price paid by BCC, which acquired the centre for £105m in 2015.
The centre has more than 60 outlets, including a Debenham’s, and is the largest shopping centre on the Fylde Coast. As part of the purchase, the council will also take ownership of a 770-space multi-storey car park.
A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “This is a hugely positive move for the town that will give us direct control over the Fylde Coast’s major retail centre.
“This acquisition will deliver a significant financial return to the council but, more importantly, it will allow us to invest in a shopping centre that is fundamentally important to Blackpool’s future.
“Moving the centre into council ownership will provide significant benefits to our town and our residents. At the same time, we have the potential to unlock up to £50m of investment in the town through the Future High Streets and Towns Funds, which will undoubtedly give further momentum to the regeneration of the town centre.”
Funding for the acquisition will be secured through prudential borrowing. The management company that operated the centre on behalf of the previous owners is expected to remain in place for an interim period until the council has determined more permanent arrangements.
Source: Place North West