Multi-million pound Tower Ramparts deal

A MULTI-MILLION pound deal is on the brink of being sealed for the sale of Ipswich's Tower Ramparts shopping centre.Currently owned by German investment banking company, the deal is expected to be clinched by the end of this month.

A MULTI-MILLION pound deal is on the brink of being sealed for the sale of Ipswich's Tower Ramparts shopping centre.

Currently owned by German investment banking company, the deal is expected to be clinched by the end of this month.

Although the exact amount of money likely to be paid for the centre has not been revealed, sources today said the purchase price was expected to be in excess of £30m.

It is understood the buyer will be a UK investment company, which already has experience of owning shopping centres elsewhere in the country.

After negotiations between both parties began late last year, it is believed contracts were exchanged before Christmas.

One source said completion of the sale was "imminent". As long as there are no last minute hitches the new owners could take over one of Ipswich's major retail showcases within the next 14 days.

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It is believed the 16,000 square metre centre was not on the market for very long and a buyer was found within about a month.

The centre is currently being run by managing agents ACR Commercial Property, in Old Bond Street, London, on behalf of its German client.

However no one from the company was available to make any comment on the sale.

Tower Ramparts has changed hands on a number of occasions since it was opened in 1986.

The centre was originally owned by the Church Commissioners which sold it to London-based Pillar Property Investments in December 1991.

Pillar then sold the complex to Prudential, which at the time owned 25 shopping centres throughout the country and had a major stake in Bluewater in Kent. The insurance giant paid £22.36m to purchase Tower Ramparts in the summer of 1995.

The centre was sold again in June 1999. Prudential accepted an offer of £24.3m from L&S Noe Trust, who handed the running of Tower Ramparts to its property investment company REIT Asset Management. The reason given for the sale at the time was that Prudential wanted to rebalance its portfolio.

The complex was purchased again in 2002, by its present owners in a deal thought to be worth in the region of £26m.

A spokesman for Tower Ramparts declined to comment on the current sale.