Portsmouth council buys Lakeside North Harbour for £138m
THE city's largest office complex has been bought by Portsmouth council – for the 'immense' sum of £138m.
Lakeside North Harbour in Cosham now belongs to the local authority after the purchase from Northwood Investors was completed.
A loan will be used to pay for the 120 acre site over a 35-year period.
It is hoped the move will not only generate income but help boost job prospects in the city.
Portsmouth city council's deputy leader, Councillor Steve Pitt, said: 'As one of the region's leading business locations, Lakeside is a hugely important site for Portsmouth. Buying Lakeside shows the council has a real commitment to investing in the city.
'It gives us ownership of an important strategic site along with the ability to ensure any future development of the site meets the needs of Portsmouth's businesses and ensures employment opportunities for local people.'
Councillors voted to buy the 120 acre site, which includes its offices, retail units, car park, the Village Hotel and the nearby Porsche garage, at a full council meeting on June 18.
It is estimated that the purchase will generate an overall financial return of £22m over the 35-year period and there are hopes new businesses and offices could be built on some of the site's free space.
Labour councillor and MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan backed the vote but had some concerns. 'This immense sum of money coming from council coffers is a lot of public money paid for by Portsmouth people,' he said.
'It is integral that we see a benefit for residents directly stem from this investment. The council cannot and must not turn this into another Tipner case, where effort and momentum petered out once the limelight had faded.'
His fears were met by Tory boss Cllr Donna Jones who had abstained from the vote. She said: 'I remain deeply sceptical about the Lakeside deal.
'It's an ageing building that's extremely expensive to run. This purchase generates less than £2m a year to help the council. When I was leader of the council I invested less than £138m and generated four times the amount.'
Around 4,000 people work on the site.