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Suffolk's largest shopping centre sold

PUBLISHED: 22:32 06 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK'S largest shopping centre has been sold in a deal worth many tens of millions of pounds.

The Buttermarket Centre, in the heart of Ipswich, has been sold by owners, Legal and General, to property company, Prime Commercial, in a deal that will be completed next Tuesday.

SUFFOLK'S largest shopping centre has been sold in a deal worth many tens of millions of pounds.

The Buttermarket Centre, in the heart of Ipswich, has been sold by owners, Legal and General, to property company, Prime Commercial, in a deal that will be completed next Tuesday.

The cost of the deal is not being revealed but company bosses say it is worth "several tens of millions of pounds."

The centre was opened in late 1992 after two years' construction.

The annex to the centre was converted into a BhS store which opened at Easter, 1997.

And the main centre was substantially altered in 1998 when TK Maxx opened on the first floor.

But it suffered a major blow at the start of this year when C&A, the second largest store in the centre, closed down.

However centre manager, Colin Roberts, said the sale should herald the start of good time for the Buttermarket.

A major retailer is in the final stages of negotiation to take over the bottom floor of the old C&A store in the Buttermarket.

Mr Roberts could not confirm who it is, but the Evening Star understands it is a major women's fashion chain which already has a presence in the town centre.

The upper floor of the C&A store will be separated from the lower floor, and so far there has been little interest in this.

However a new coffee bar, Café Giardino, is due to open in the former Toymaster Kingdom unit on the ground floor, hopefully before Christmas.

Meanwhile at Tower Ramparts the alterations to the escalators outside Littlewoods have been completed in time for Christmas – but the café due to open there will not be completed until the New Year.

And the position surrounding the bottom floor of Littlewoods store is still not clear.

When Iceland closed in April, Littlewoods said it would be operating on only two floors and the bottom floor would be handed back to the shopping centre's owner.

However Tower Ramparts manager, Mike Sorhaindo, said there was still no firm news on when – or if – Littlewoods would be surrendering the bottom floor.

"This is something that is on the agenda still, but there is nothing firm on that," he said.

Mr Sorhaindo said the fact that the bottom of Littlewoods could become a separate retail unit was a factor behind the decision to move the escalator at that end of the shopping centre.

John Stebbings, from the Ipswich Partnership, said some traders had been frustrated that both the town's main shopping centres had an "unfinished" look about them during the busiest shopping period of the year.


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