Falkirk business: Howgate Centre's new owners reveal plans
After weeks of uncertainty the new owners of the Howgate Centre have been revealed.
The shopping mall has been acquired by Belgate (Falkirk) Ltd, a Glasgow firm with similar acquisitions in its portfolio.
It follows previous owners of the 185,000 sq ft centre Ellandi putting the property up for auction on May 18.
There was considerable interest and after a flurry of bids it was eventually sold for £2.32 million but at that time there was no indication who had made the purchase.
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However, the owner was only revealed earlier this week as Belgate who already own The Centre in Cumbernauld and The Mercat Centre in Kirkcaldy.
However, two long-serving employees of the previous owners have now left the business.
Howgate manager Suzanne Arkinson and marketing manager Margaret Foy no longer work at the centre according to staff.
A spokesperson for the new owners said: “Belgate (Falkirk) Ltd is pleased to have concluded the purchase of The Howgate Shopping Centre.
"This is the latest acquisition to a managed portfolio that includes shopping centres in Cumbernauld, Kirkcaldy, Rhyl and Burton Upon Trent.
"Belgate and the team have proven experience of turning assets around and have already commenced with applying this model to The Howgate Centre to build upon and add to the existing tenant line up to give more variety to customers.”
Looking ahead to their future plans, they added: “Centralising retail and other offers within the town will play a major part in ensuring The Howgate Centre continues to be a focal point within Falkirk for many years to come and we look forward to engaging with local stakeholders in the forthcoming weeks and months.”
The centre, comprising 56 units, has a current annual gross rental income of just over £1 million from occupiers including Boots, JD Sports, River Island, New Look and Wilko.
The centre opened in 1990 with the original tenants Boots, Woolworths and Argos.