A MAJOR property fund based in London is on the brink of completing a deal to buy one of the Capital’s biggest shopping centres.
Resolution, which owns leisure and retail parks, shopping centres, and other development sites across Europe, has put in a £90 million bid to take over Ocean Terminal from Forth Ports.
Part of the deal will also include the adjacent “Waterfront Plaza” development land, which was to be one of the first parts of Leith Docks to be developed and had been earmarked for housing, offices, a hotel and a business district.
Once a deal concludes, Resolution is expected to review whether to press ahead with the existing outline planning consent or submit new plans.
It is hoped that a deal can be finalised soon. Talks would then be expected to start quickly between the new owner and the city council, which had planned to fund a series of infrastructure projects worth £84m at Leith Docks, using a “tax increment financing” (TIF) scheme, where borrowing for the work is funded by future business rates growth.
Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “I would hope that any potential purchaser of Ocean Terminal comes to an agreement with Forth Ports as soon as possible and will become an important player with the city council and strategic partners.
“We still have the ability to raise money through TIF and we will want to talk to them about projects that they might want to be involved in.”
Cllr Buchanan said he would want to hold talks with the new developer about the potential for a development, featuring housing, retail and leisure.
A source close to the deal said the development land was a key part of any deal. He said: “It gives whoever purchases the shopping centre the opportunity to do something with the land that could tie in or be beneficial to the shopping centre.”
Leith councillor Gordon Munro said: “I hope the deal is successful and they do look again at the outline planning they have for this development site as the plans by Forth Ports were based on a market model that no longer works.”
A spokeswoman for Forth Ports said she could not comment on the sale process until it was completed.