Bolton Council has bought the 280,000 sq ft Crompton Place shopping centre from the Santander Pension Fund for £14.8m to help speed up the delivery of the town’s £1bn masterplan.
Crompton Place, between the A575 and Deansgate, features 46 retail units, office accommodation and a 285-space car park, and is currently managed by JLL.
Bolton’s cabinet gave approval to the purchase on 14 May and has now completed the buy after a series of due diligence checks.
The purchase was funded through the council’s £100m town centre fund, which is financed through a low-interest loan, repaid using dividends from the council’s interest in Manchester Airport and the Yorkshire Purchasing Company.
Crompton Place forms one of the core areas of the town’s £1bn masterplan, unveiled last year. Other areas to be developed are Church Wharf, the Croal Valley, Trinity Quarter, and Cheadle Square.
Muse was chosen as development partner for Church Wharf in March this year.
Lead of Bolton Council Cllr Linda Thomas said the purchase was “fundamental to support the regeneration and transformation” of the town centre.
“It is at the heart of our town’s civic and retail core and this deal means we now have control of a major strategic site that is critical to delivering the town centre masterplan,” she said.
“We will now be focusing on ways to regenerate the area for the long-term benefit of the town centre and our residents across the borough.
“We have carried out extensive due diligence checks before acquiring the centre and these have confirmed that the purchase price reflects current market conditions and represents fair market value.
She added there would be “no changes in the day-to-day operation and running of the shopping centre in the immediate future”.
Bolton is the latest local authority to take charge of town centre retail assets. Trafford Council announced its purchase of the Graftons shopping centre in Altrincham earlier this year, while Wigan Council bought the 440,000 sq ft The Galleries in March.