Around 120 homes could be delivered in the first phase. Credit: Google Earth

Bury and Bruntwood ink Mill Gate joint venture

The council has been given the green light to acquire the shopping centre from InfraRed Capital, paving the way for its redevelopment. 

Bury Council’s cabinet met yesterday evening to approve the acquisition of the 15-acre Mill Gate estate for an undisclosed sum, funded by a loan drawn down from the public works loan board. 

The cabinet also agreed to enter into a joint venture with Bruntwood, creating a development vehicle that will deliver the revamp of the town centre shopping complex. 

Bruntwood is working on a similar project with Trafford Council, where the developer is leading the transformation of Stretford Mall. 

Early-stage plans for Mill Gate include “opportunities to consolidate and diversify the current Mill Gate retail offer, with the addition of new residential, leisure uses, serviced offices and food and beverage uses,” according to the council. 

All retailers that wish to remain at Mill Gate, and have a viable business, will be retained. The shopping centre will remain operational throughout each development phase, the council confirmed. 

The Mill Gate scheme forms part of a wider town centre redevelopment strategy that was signed off earlier this month. 

Other elements of the masterplan include: 

  • A new Bury Market flexi hall 
  • A new centre for health innovation and related technologies at Bury College 
  • A hotel on the site of the former fire station 
  • Phase two of the Chamberhall industrial site. 

Bury’s acquisition of Mill Gate follows InfraRed’s decision to dispose of its interest and concerns that – if the council did not intervene to buy the centre – “there is a risk of it is being acquired by an income investor who will potentially extract surpluses from the centre for short- term gain rather than investing in the estate”, a cabinet report said. 

This would make the regeneration opportunities “much more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve”, the report added. 

InfraRed bought Mill Gate from Aberdeen Asset Management in 2014 for £52m. Since then, an additional £20m has been invested in the complex.

Elsewhere in Bury, the council has entered a joint venture with Muse Developments for the overhaul of the Longfield Centre in Prestwich.

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All these councils doing the right thing and buying these tired old shopping centres to pave the way for redevelopment.

When will MCC see sense and do the same with the Arndale?

By Anonymous

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