GUNWHARF Quays is set to grow amid multi-million pound deals to develop two neighbouring tower blocks.
Soon The Hard in Portsmouth could see hotels, homes and offices in the place of the two eyesore buildings as part of a major redevelopment of the area.
The company which owns Gunwharf Quays – retail property giant Land Securities – has snapped up Europa House, the former headquarters of Pall Europe.
City leaders have described the £3.25m deal to buy the 18-storey office block as ‘great news for the city’.
And The News can exclusively reveal that the sale of neighbouring Brunel House is also being negotiated, with the long-empty tower block now facing demolition. Gunwharf’s centre director Peter Emery said it was still too early to say what Europa House would become.
But he said Gunwharf had ‘embraced’ the redevelopment plan and was currently ‘exploring options’ for possible future uses for the building.
He told The News: ‘A feasibility study is being carried out to examine different options. I am excited about the future but we are not at the stage yet where a final decision can be taken.’
Mr Emery added that plans to expand Gunwharf Quays were a key part of the overall regeneration of Portsmouth’s waterfront – which could include a revamped ferry and bus station and even a walkway connecting the shopping centre to the historic dockyard.
He said: ‘We already have a very successful Gunwharf Quays that attracts millions of people into the city and employs hundreds of local people and a very successful dockyard which is a tourist destination in its own right. It makes sense to join them up.’
Leslie Zucker is director of property firm City Estates which is managing the sale of Brunel House and the surrounding buildings to a currently unnamed company.
He said: ‘It will probably be a mix of uses, some homes and office space, and probably a hotel.
‘Negotiations are now moving along well.’
The Portsmouth City councillor in charge of planning, regeneration and economic development Mike Hancock said both sales would be fantastic news for the city.
He said: ‘The Europa House deal means Pall is moving to the Raymarine building in North Harbour and choosing to stay in the city, leaving the tower block with the possibility of becoming a great many things. The interest in both buildings just shows that people have real confidence in this city.’