International law firm Gowling WLG has advised Southend-on-Sea Borough Council on the acquisition of Victoria Shopping Centre.
The Victoria Centre is a 333,538 sq. ft. shopping centre in Southend-on-Sea with circa 100 units, housing retailers such as Wilko, Next, Metro Bank amongst others. The acquisition is the council's first substantial commercial property purchase on the High Street, giving it a significant ownership stake for the first time.
The council plans to invest in the shopping centre, both with potential internal modifications and exterior improvements and there are also opportunities to include a range of public services in the centre, right at the heart of the town, to improve accessibility to services and to help to drive footfall through the centre.
This is a strategic property acquisition for the Council with wider regeneration and place-making benefits for the immediate and wider area.
The Gowling WLG cross-disciplinary legal advisory team comprised of Nick Mumby, Bradley Silver, Laura Kutnick, Zoya Khan, Eliza Summerfield and Rachael Willetts advising on real estate; Jan Hebblethwaite on planning; Hannah Daeche on construction; David Lowe on commercial; and Hannah Swindle on employment.
Alan Richards, Director of Property at Southend Borough Council said: "The team at Gowling WLG provided us with excellent support throughout the process. Working with advisers who understand and support our vision was crucial to getting the acquisition over the line."
Nick Mumby, partner at Gowling said: 'We are pleased to have advised The Borough on this deal to take ownership of an important asset in the town centre which will help them to regenerate the high-street and surrounding area.'
The acquisition follows Gowling WLG's appointment as legal advisers to Southend Borough Council on a partnership with Citizen Housing to deliver a substantial residential build-to-rent scheme comprising market and affordable rented housing and which in turn enables the construction of a new stadium for Southend United FC.
Gowling WLG has one of the biggest dedicated development and regeneration teams in the UK and acts for a wide range of developers, funders and local authorities to deliver innovative and commercial solutions to often complex specifications quickly and efficiently.