Blackpool Council buys £47m shopping centre

Houndshill Shopping Centre, Blackpool

Blackpool Council said it has acquired the resort’s Houndshill Shopping Centre in a move aimed at sparking the regeneration of the town centre.

The council had 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 said it decided to step in following the appointment of receivers who took over the running of the centre several days ago.

It has agreed to buy the centre for £47.6 million – less than half the price originally paid by BCC.

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

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

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 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.