USS to fund Blackpool Central first phase
Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment have struck a deal with the Universities Superannuation Scheme to pay for the construction of a 1,300-space car park, part of a £300m town centre leisure scheme.
The developers’ funding ask was for £37m but USS did not disclose the value of the agreement.
Contractor Ballast Nedam is due to start on site in March, as reported by Place North West earlier this week.
As part of the funding deal, Blackpool Council has agreed an underlease on the multistorey car park and will operate it once it is built.
Richard Fee, chief executive at Nikal, said: “This is an important step forward and builds momentum behind Blackpool Central. We look forward to breaking ground on this crucial first phase, which will kickstart one of the UK’s most important regeneration projects.”
The Blackpool Central car park is being delivered first in order to enable the later phases of the scheme, and ensure that neighbouring businesses such as SeaLife and Madame Tussauds don’t suffer a loss of parking provision during the redevelopment of the site, which is currently used as a surface car park.
Later phases of the development include a 127,000 sq ft flying theatre. The vision for theatre was originally inspired by Erich von Daniken’s 1968 bestselling book, The Chariots of The Gods, to which Media Invest Entertainment owns and controls the global media rights.
However, the Chariots theme was dropped last year after market research found the brand did not chime with a younger audience.
Two smaller indoor theme parks, a 200-bedroom hotel, several bars and restaurants, and a 70,000 sq ft public square, also feature in future phases.
USS is a pension fund headquartered in Liverpool that manages almost £90bn of assets globally.