Bliss Investment Partners expects to complete a deal to take over management of Southport Theatre & Convention Centre in time to take over operations from June this year.
Developer and investor Bliss acquired the neighbouring Ramada Hotel in December 2016, following up with the acquisition of the 250-year head lease on the remainder of the Waterfront complex in July.
Aside from Genting Casino and a Greene King-operated pub restaurant, the Waterfront scheme, developed by Neptune, had struggled, with the 53,000 sq ft of commercial pace remaining largely unlet.
The STCC is currently run on behalf of its owner Sefton Council by global group Ambassador Theatre Group, and Bliss partner Daniel Broch this morning confirmed to Place North West that “advanced discussions” are taking place for Bliss to take over, initially on a three-year deal.
He said: “Within the Ambassador group, it’s probably fair to say that this is something of an outpost. It has become dated, but it’s a great facility and we intend to invest to bring it into the 21st century and make it something Southport can be proud of.
“It’s the third part of the trilogy, and this will allow us to bring together the three elements, which will benefit from being managed and promoted together. We’re looking to create a multi-faceted, multi-media performance and events space.” No financial details have been disclosed.
Bliss’ track record offers some promise for Southport – the group was the initial driving force behind the Everyman cinema group that has become a prized target in the leisure sector.
As part of its Southport plans, the Ramada Hotel is being rebranded into the Bliss Hotel, with elements being changed throughout the year ahead of a full rebrand towards the end of 2018.
Plans have also come forward for the troublesome Waterfront commercial space. Broch said: “The wing of the vacant space with those 180 degree vistas will become part of the hotel – those views have never been capitalised on.
“With the ‘casino wing’ of the scheme, we’ll look to integrate it into the development – this might be serviced apartments, or residential or leisure. The idea is to bring the whole scheme forward as something that has national significance.”