HARRY Redknapp could be on course to lose more than £4m as he prepares to sell the seafront site where Joanna’s nightclub burned down
The News can reveal that the former Pompey manager’s firm, Pierfront Developments, is in discussions to offload the Savoy buildings and Savoy Court, on South Parade in Southsea.
Mr Redknapp has previously said he invested £8.5m in the site, which has earned him criticism for refusing to offer affordable housing, the slow pace of development and not clearing the land after a devastating fire last year. But industry experts claim the property will fetch around £4m – and question whether it will even fetch that much.
Pierfront bought the site in 2007 but building work stalled after the recession hit in 2008.
Now Land Registry records show an agreement was reached last month with a company called Hampshire and Regional (South Parade) Ltd to give it first refusal on any sale.
One of the company’s directors is Peter Warlow who works for HGP Architects, the firm behind the iconic Spinnaker Tower.
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he hoped there would be a decent development on the site before too long.
He said: ‘I’m really pleased that it could be bought by someone who lives and works in the town and someone who has a great record for good quality developments.
‘Because then we are likely to get something built that is good and does justice to the location.’
Seafront manager David Evans said that he was not surprised to hear about interest in buying the seafront site.
‘I do believe that it is a very desirable and prominent site,’ he said. ‘I’m sure it won’t be long before we see something being built there.’
Tory councillor Luke Stubbs lives next door to the derelict site and said it was good to hear that things were finally moving forward.
He said: ‘The first stage is to get it sold on from Redknapp and then get a developer in who can get something built.
‘I would like to see a building in keeping with those nearby, but I’m open-minded about something more modern.’
Sarah Carter, 56, of St Helen’s Parade, Southsea, said she couldn’t wait to see what might be built on the site.
‘It has been an embarrassment for far too long,’ she said. ‘If someone has finally decided to buy it then that’s great news. It’s one of the best sites on the seafront, but with it sitting empty and the pier in such a state it hasn’t exactly been a good advert for Portsmouth.’
Mr Warlow confirmed his company was interested in the site but said discussions with Pierfront were only in the early stages. No one from Pierfront Developments was available to comment.