Solihull Council has acquired ownership of the Mell Square holding company, which includes the ground lease interests and freeholds of a number of key commercial town centre properties. The move will allow the Council to continue to play an active role, with partners, in shaping the future of the town centre and deliver on a key aspect of its bold new Town Centre Masterplan.
Following indications from IM Properties that they wished to dispose of their Mell Square retail interest, early negotiations were entered into with the Council to ensure the best outcome for the town centre and the future long-term prosperity of an asset they had shown considerable commitment to over the years.
The acquisition, sees the Council add to its land holdings in the area, taking control of the entire Mell Square site as well as the company which operate the popular shopping location.
The terms agreed will see ownership of IM Properties’ existing portfolio of tenants and occupiers transferred to the Council, which has committed to support the current occupiers and ensure the site remains intact, paving the way for future regeneration opportunities.
The impetus behind acquisition is to protect the future of this strategically important site and to support the delivery of the Council’s bold new Town Centre Masterplan, a vital element of its UK Central programme.
Published in November 2020, Solihull’s Town Centre Masterplan provides a framework for future growth and development to maintain footfall and vibrancy of the town centre, identifying Mell Square as a key development site. By taking a wider view of upcoming developments and opportunities it aims to ensure effective planning for the future, which is now an even higher priority through the impact of the COVID pandemic.
The Masterplan identifies and outlines a number of development opportunities at Mell Square to enhance the current retail offer by bringing in new complementary uses to the area such as a residential and a more varied leisure offer.
The above is copied from the council website. I wish to add: ‘As I stated at the cabinet meeting, which was held in private due to commercial sensitivities, councils should rarely acquire shopping centers just for investments sake. However, in this case it is about ensuring the council can protect a great asset for the borough and deliver our plans to retain Solihull town center shops as a top place to visit as well as establishing a mixed use of shops, businesses and living accommodation can be achieved’.