Middlesbrough Council has acquired a multi-million-pound shopping centre as part of a drive to secure the town centre's long-term future.
The purchase of the Cleveland Centre was completed this week, with the council agreeing to pay £12m for a shopping centre that changed hands for £85m less than six years ago.
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said the council was ‘stepping in to save’ the centre.
The Cleveland Centre has been the town's retail focal point since it opened in 1973, covering 30% of the overall retail space in the town centre.
Mayor Preston said the council's investment strategy would help to transform the future of the town centre through a better balance of retail, leisure and residential space.
‘A stronger town centre is essential for the prosperity of everyone in Middlesbrough. It's better for jobs, better for mental wellbeing and it helps the council to provide the best possible services,’ said mayor Preston.
‘So buying such a fundamental town centre site makes absolute sense as we try and future-proof the centre of Middlesbrough.
‘Struggling town centres isn't just a Middlesbrough problem. High streets everywhere are having a tough time and this savvy move makes sure we can be in the control of our own destiny.
'I'm determined that we won't simply stand by and see what happens. When there's a solid business case to intervene, we will.’
‘We've played a patient waiting game, driven a hard bargain and hammered down the price,’ he continued.
‘We've purchased a town centre asset that sold for £85m just over five years ago for just £12m. We are stepping in to save it for a fraction of that price to help build a better future for our town.’
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