Council set to complete Kirkby acquisition

A special cabinet meeting convened by Knowsley Council will tomorrow consider a report on the purchase of Kirkby town centre from St Modwen, the developer having accepted an offer in principle.

Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of the council, said “Just a short time ago at the end of May, we announced our intention to make an offer to St Modwen to purchase their assets in Kirkby town centre. In just a matter of weeks, we have sought and analysed independent valuations of these assets, carried out constructive and positive detailed negotiations, and made an in principle offer to St Modwen. I’d like to thank the council officers who have worked so hard and well to get us to this point.

“We have received confirmation that St Modwen’s board has approved our in principle offer so on Friday I will be recommending that this deal is done so that we can take control of Kirkby town centre and deliver the regeneration scheme which our residents have been promised by the private sector for the last 20 years.”

St Modwen acquired large parts of Kirkby town centre from Tesco for £36m in 2015, the retail giant having originally intended to advance a development in partnership with a relocated Everton FC.

Since that time, St Modwen has demolished old buildings including an Asda store and a Gala bingo hall and taken forward plans for around 76,000 sq ft of retail along with a 45,000 sq ft Morrisons store, with contractor GMI being lined up in autumn 2018 to deliver. Retailers signed up include Home Bargains, with around 20,000 sq ft, and KFC.

St Modwen was also named as the council’s partner for a leisure scheme on the former town centre library site, having lined up Reel as cinema operator.

Morgan said in May that it had “become quite clear we need a different model,” adding that “despite major names being signed up, St Modwen remain extremely cautious and have still not confirmed a start date – we have waited too long and it’s time to move on”. A statement issued at the same time by St Modwen said that discussions, centred on the council and the developer working in partnership to deliver the project, were positive.

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Good news? A democractically-elected council with social-market principles taking back control. Let’s have more close collaboration between private developers and public councils, for the benefit of everyone..

By James Yates

Poor old Toytown Knowsley. Buying back the town centre assets that they once owned! What a shambles. I feel for the residents of the borough, led around the parade ring. Only Halewood now has the semblance of a modern, functioning town centre.

By John Smith

Really hope this goes through this time , Kirkby people are fed up with false promises

By Ivy Tinsley

A brave decision by Knowsley. In notice they haven’t specified the price they will pay for it…

By Du Be Ous

Yet another Council following in the footsteps of their N.W. Local Authority neighbours buying up distressed Town Centre Stock that even the most entrepreneurial of Mixed Use Developers view as toxic.
What do they see that the market doesn’t ?

By Tha'knows

Tha’knows: I’d imagine they see that they can justify the invest in a wider range of measures than a developer can – e.g. public realm, highways, as well as having their own significant occupier needs – and therefore may be better placed to take a holistic view of turning around “distressed” assets.

By Social Democracy

Tha’knows and Social Democracy: Public sector orgs. can also borrow at far better rates than any private investor because there will always be a successor organisation that takes on any outstanding liability. This allows councils to take on a greater risk than other potential investors.

By the time you read this...

It won`t go through. It`s not in Liverpool city centre.

By Heswall

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