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B&M Penicuik © Jim Barton, 2013, Geograph

Penicuik Shopping Centre Sold

An ambitious property developer has bought Penicuik’s Shopping Centre, opening the door to new retailers and development opportunities.

It was announced Monday that developers Evolve Estates have acquired the freehold of the town’s shopping centre, in a deal worth circa £5M.

Under the exchange, the new owners will actively manage 17 retail units and one dental surgery, amounting to around 50,000 sq.ft of floorspace. Tenants include B&M Bargains, Farmfoods, Greggs, The Original Factory Shop and Semi Chem. Also included are two service yards and 150 parking spaces. The western side of the pedestrian shopping precinct was not affected by the transaction.

Joe O’Keefe, Director of Evolve Estates said:

We are delighted with this acquisition which fits our business model perfectly and represents a very solid investment going forward. We have plans to improve the tenant line up and actively manage the scheme, to create a better environment for shoppers and our tenants. We are in talks with national operators to take space as we speak and we are exploring further development options.

Since 1999, the so called Penicuik shopping centre, also known as Kentigern Mall and the Silvergait Centre, has changed hands four times. Before the turn of the millennium, Midlothian Council sold the leasehold interest to Dunedin Property for £3.2m. They drew up plans for two new retail units and new apartments before selling the development to LJR Properties for £5.5m. At some point in the coming years LJR disposed of the 17 units to an AkzoNobel Pension Fund c/o Savils. Evolve Estates has now taken over.

Since the financial crisis, the town centre has been in decline with many retailers closing. High street chains opted for the expanding retail park at Straiton instead of flocking to Penicuik. However, now in the hands of a rapidly growing company that specialises in planning and regeneration, there will be renewed hopes over the centre’s future success.

Established in 2009, Evolve have since amassed a portfolio worth £160M, £52M of which was acquired within the past year. Throughout their 48 mixed use developments in the UK, 200 planning applications have been submitted to rejuvenate or extend properties. One example is their successful regeneration of St Martin’s Walk in Dorking, where they introduced new retailers and events.

Last year, businesses in Penicuik’s Town Centre voted to create a Business Improvement District. The Penicuik First BID will collect a levy from all eligible businesses with this being used to fund improvements to the town centre. Already implemented is a monthly market which has been branded a “huge success”. It will restart this Friday and could expand onto High Street by the Summer.

Plans for the long term future of the Shopping Centre remain under wraps but we’ve been promised that we’ll hear more soon.