The Postings Shopping Centre in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which had been put up for auction by pension fund Columbia Threadneedle with a reserve price of just £1, has been purchased for a winning bid of £310,000 by developers Evergold Property.
The Wakefield in Yorkshire-based Evergold has announced ambitious plans to develop and rebrand its asset as the Kirkcaldy Centre.
Traditional town centre shopping malls have been facing challenges in recent years, first from the rise of out-of-town shopping destinations with unlimited parking, then by the arrival of online purchasing and grocery deliveries.
But many in the retail industry believe that revitalising town shopping is simply a question of delivering what the public wants.
Tahir Ali, director of Evergold Property, says: “With over 20 years’ experience within the commercial and residential property sector, the Evergold team has a wealth of experience in all aspects of property development.
“We are all about adding value to properties, communities and master planning sites to ensure the most productive outcomes can be achieved for the local authorities and other partners we work alongside.
“Our aim is to reposition and revitalise this centre to the benefit of the local community.
“There are some attractive units here with an existing footfall averaging 15,000 people per week.
“We are already in advanced discussions with various operators for the large unit formerly occupied by Tesco, as well as entering into discussion with prospective tenants offering a range of goods and services.”
The 80,620sq ft shopping centre is situated on a three-acre site close to the town’s pedestrianised High Street. Comprising 21 shop units and a 304-space car park, existing tenants include Farmfoods, Lloyds Pharmacy, Stephens Bakers and Fife Council.
Evergold has instructed Shepherd Chartered Surveyors to offer 14 vacant shop units, ranging from 700sq ft to 53,155sq ft, for lease.
A majority of the smaller units at the centre benefit from the Business Rates Bonus Scheme, meaning that – once occupied – no business rates would be payable.
Bilal Ashraf, commercial surveyor in the Dunfermline office of Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, says: “This means that what we are hoping to attract are local start-ups, small businesses and boutique offerings which you just can’t get online or in the bigger retail parks.
“Evergold are in a good position to know this market and offer attractive incentive packages to help small operators, and the whole offering will be anchored by the tenant for the 50,000sq feet unit.”
Built in 1981, the centre connects Kirkcaldy Bus Station to the High Street and, as well as hoping to bring in new tenants, Ashraf is keen to boost the allure of those units already occupied.
He says: “We can’t change the shopping habits of the modern world but we can bring life back with a good mix of offerings.
“In the wider market, Edinburgh and Glasgow are doing okay but people from Kirkcaldy will travel into the cities to shop, and we want to create something that keeps them here.
“Local independent occupiers and small boutiques will do really well in this location and if you have enough together then it makes a really attractive destination for the customer.”