THE Port Arcades shopping centre in Ellesmere Port has sold prior to auction.

The town centre retail facility, which currently has a net income of just under £500,000, was due to go under the virtual hammer tomorrow (Tuesday, September 29).

However, digital property investment platform BidX1 has confirmed on its website that the shopping centre has sold prior to its online auction.

There is no confirmation of a sale figure but The Port Arcades, which was due to be lot number four, had been given a guide price of £3m.

Reacting to the news, Ellesmere Port MP Justin Madders told The Standard: "I am aware there was interest in purchasing the Arcades before it went to auction and having spoken to at least one interested party I was optimistic that new owners would mean a fresh lease of life for the town.

"We have been in limbo for too long now because of the administration so I am hopeful that new owners means new investment and a more positive future for the Arcades."

The soon-to-be former owners FREP (Ellesmere Port) Ltd – a company within London-based Frogmore Group who specialise in real estate investment and management – have been in administration since November 2016.

Property specialists Arron Kendall and Simon Thomas, of Moorfields Advisory, were appointed administrators over the company and the shopping centre continued to trade as normal while a 'disposal strategy' was developed.

Chester and District Standard:

Confirmation on the BidX1 website that The Port Arcades has sold prior to auction.

BidX1 described the shopping centre, which has a total of 76 retail units, a centre management suite, office space and seven residential apartments, as comprising the 'heart of the town centre' and being an 'important strategic site'.

The property summary added that the gross contractual rent is more than £1.5m per year with a net operating income of £498,735.

The Port Arcades is currently held on six long leasehold interests from Cheshire West and Chester Council, which have 92 years unexpired and a combined annual head rent of £88,000.

According to BidX1, an agreement in principle was reached to re-gear the headleases into one headlease for a term of 250 years at a fixed ground rent of £100,000 per year.

This agreement was subject to the demolition of the former B&M unit.