THE future of Jacksons Landing could be decided today when senior councillors meet to decide whether to push ahead with plans to buy the derelict retail unit.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee will decide whether to buy the site or withdraw all together and rely on the owner to market the site at Hartlepool Marina.
The council was planning to buy the five-acre Jacksons Landing and then sell the land on straight away in a “back-to-back” deal for redevelopment.
But the developer that was lined up has pulled out and officials are now being asked to consider two options.
Either, buy the land with a view to holding it until the market improves and a “suitable viable” scheme is identified or withdraw interest and rely on the owners to market the site.
Councillors are being recommended to push ahead with plans to buy Jacksons Landing, which would likely be funded by a loan.
A report by Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “It is recommended that option one is approved as this will enable the council to control the development of this key site.
“If members adopt this option it is also recommended that if no alternative and financially viable use of this site for operation purposes is identified by December 2014 that the site be disposed of for housing and or commercial development.”
The future sale of the land would then generate income, once the initial payment price has been repayed.
The prospective sale, ongoing for two years, has been complicated because of the nature of the site.
Jacksons Landing has been empty since July 2004 and the rumoured confidential sale figure was around £2m, but town leaders have previously said it is a “lot less” than £2m.
Jacksons Landing was valued at £10m before the credit crunch.
In 2011, the council entered into a “lock-out” agreement with the owner Schroders to allow time to produce a feasibility study and work with developers with the aim of developing two thirds of the site for housing, and the rest for commercial use.
The report added: “Currently the building is having a blighting effect on the remainder of the Marina, however, due to its strategic location the site has significant potential for redevelopment either for residential or a mix of residential, commercial and leisure uses.”
The finance and policy committee was due to meet this morning at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.