COUNCIL bosses are expecting to make a decision on the future of a derelict retail site within weeks.
Hartlepool Borough Council is considering buying Jacksons Landing, on Hartlepool Marina, and then selling the land on for redevelopment.
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Talks have been ongoing with a number of companies interested in developing the site, which has stood empty since July 2004.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, speaking at the recent full council meeting, said he was expecting a decision one way or the other within weeks.
The council has entered into a “lock-out” agreement with the owners Schroders to give them time to produce a feasibility study and work with potential developers.
Mayor Drummond said: “The issue of Jacksons Landing has been well publicised.
“The council is in negotiations with the owners and has a lock-out agreement.
“We have invited developers and bids to come in and if there is a project that will be viable then it will be seriously considered.
“That should be resolved either way in the next few weeks.”
If the sale does go through then the plan is to develop two thirds of the site for housing and the rest for commercial use.
The rumoured sale figure is around the £2m mark – but officers say it would be “inappropriate” to reveal how much they plan to pay at this stage.
If the plans from developers do not result in a profit, or if there is a cost to the council, then cabinet and full council would need to review their position.
Earlier this year, councillors gave their backing to buy the building – which was valued at £10m before the credit crunch – at a full council meeting.
Mayor Drummond spoke about Jackson Landing on the back of a question from David Nin, who runs the Lotus Garden restaurant on Hartlepool’s Navigation Point, about the prospects for the site.
Mr Nin also questioned Mayor Drummond about whether the council ensures that all local businesses have the opportunity to find out about contract opportunities.
The town’s leader said the council has been commended for its tendering procedures, praised council staff for their work with businesses and said the local authority has been a big supporter of the Buy Local campaign, which encourages people to boost the town’s economy.
He highlighted the £12.4m redevelopment of Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Mapleton Road, as an example of local workers working on major contracts.
Mayor Drummond said 67 per cent of the sub-contractors were from a 25 mile radius of Hartlepool, with 20 per cent of the workers living in town.
He added that £2m of the total contract has been spent on Hartlepool suppliers using a range of companies.
Mayor Drummond said if businesses or individuals had an issue with the tendering process generally then to raise it with him or the council.