Leicester City Council is to shoot themselves in the foot financially, some would say, by selling the freehold where the old council building used to stand.
The freehold relates to the land under the buildings now in place – the glass-fronted office block and the 54-flat residential building with two bars and restaurant units.
The local authority is selling the plot for a mere £24’000; outrageous, considering it is a prime, inner-city-centre location. To put it into perspective, a similar sized plot of land outside of the city centre has been valued at £1.9million. Leicester City Council and their constituents are losing out on at least £1.87million. You can see that plot of land below:Source: Rightmove
Rather than sell the freehold on the open market, the council retained ownership of the more than one and a half acre site and employed developers to build flats and an offices complex that is now close to completion. It was unexpected that the council would then choose to forfeit the profit available on this prime-location site.
You can see the old council building being demolished below; the offices were demolished around this time three years ago.
The Leicester City Council stressed it went through a “competitive exercise with potential developers” which resulted in one of the first speculatively built commercial office developments outside of London, Birmingham and Manchester. The council went on to say: “It was a risk for the developer to do that, but we now have a very successful scheme which has no doubt had an impact on the rest of the development now underway in the city centre.” – The issue with this is, by achieving the freehold at a fraction of its value (impacting local taxpayers and taking away from us, the people), there is far less risk for the developer and absolutely zero reward to the Local Authority or the people of Leicester. This isn’t the first time Leicester City Council has wasted taxpayers money or otherwise forfeited profit that could be used to further advance the city.
You can read more about the story from the Leicester Mercury who states;
Leicester City Council is to sell the site of its former headquarters site in New Walk for £24,000. The council says it will dispose of the freehold of the land to developers Sowden, which is currently developing the plot at the end of New Walk, and wealth management firm Mattioli Woods which will occupy offices on it when construction is complete.