Blackpool Council acquires Houndshill Shopping Centre

Blackpool Council acquires Houndshill Shopping Centre

Exciting news this morning, that Blackpool Council acquires Houndshill Shopping Centre in a move aimed at catalysing the regeneration of the town centre.

The Council has been in discussions for some time regarding the future of the Houndshill with the previous owner of the centre, BCC Eiffel and its funders.

The Council decided to step in following the appointment of receivers who took over the running of the centre several days ago. It has agreed to purchase the centre for £47.6m – less than half the price originally paid by BCC.

Blackpool Council acquires Houndshill Shopping Centre

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The move follows several months of negotiation, due diligence and extensive advice from leading national retail experts.

With more than 60 outlets, including the Debenhams department store, the Houndshill is the largest shopping centre on the Fylde Coast. It’s situated in a key location in the heart of Blackpool town centre.

As part of the purchase, the Council will also take ownership of the 770-space multi-storey car park.

Phase Two Development

The acquisition will secure the future of the centre. But it will also potentially facilitate investment in a Phase Two development of Houndshill. That includes restaurants and a cinema, providing a significant boost for the night time economy.

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. 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.

Unlocking investment

“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. That will undoubtedly give further momentum to the regeneration of the town centre.”

The purchase of the centre was approved in principle by the Council’s Executive during the summer. Together with two adjacent shop units on Victoria Street which form part of the centre, but are under separate ownership.

Funding for the acquisition will be secured through Prudential Borrowing powers. 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.

Good trading investment

The Council spokesperson added: “The centre trades well with high levels of occupancy and the income streams are strong. However, the company that owned it was clearly not in a position to make serious investment and that could ultimately have resulted in a decline in the centre which would not be good for Blackpool.

“All of the expert advice we have been given says that this is a great investment for the Council.”

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