Property tycoon Tahir Ali plans to demolish a derelict shopping centre in Fife and sell it to a developer to build homes on the site.
Mr Ali said the retail sector had changed since he acquired The Postings in Kirkcaldy for £320,000 from pension fund Columbia Threadneedle three years ago.
Talks with potential tenants, including a supermarket chain and a cinema operator, broke down and he now plans a £50 million residential regeneration scheme for the three-acre plot.
Mr Ali’s property development and asset management firm Evergold has acquired other properties along the High Street over the past two years.
These have included a branch of Bank of Scotland, a New Look outlook and the former Debenhams building. Whilst the closed former Debenhams store was revamped and temporarily re-opened as Fife department Store a year ago, this unit will close on 30 October to allow the demolition works to proceed.
Fife Department Store will have to be closed so that the popular fashion retailer New Look is able to continue trading on High Street. A huge sum was spent on stocking the store when it opened. All remaining stock will be donated to ‘The Cottage Family Centre’.
Once the demolition is complete the site will be sold to a large developer who will redevelop it with up to 300 flats.
“No-one could have predicted how radically the world would change within a year of purchasing The Postings Shopping Centre at auction in 2019,” said Mr Ali.
“Even though we had a number of exciting deals in the pipeline with an independent supermarket chain and state of the art cinema operation in the former Tesco unit, the Covid pandemic put an abrupt end to those plans. This prompted us to reconsider the site with a fresh approach.
“Covid taught me the need to remain dynamic and flexible with property projects, and that agility, coupled with support from Fife Council and local councillors, has enabled us to radically rethink the proposition.
“Coupled with ongoing developments along the picturesque Esplanade and Merchants Quarter in Kirkcaldy town centre, our redevelopment in the heart of Kirkcaldy should help attract other investors to progress their own plans for restaurants, more national chains, cinemas, hotels and other potential developments that will help revitalise and regenerate the town centre and attract more people back to the area as a place to live, work and play.”
Mr Ali has been working closely with Greg Limb of Ryden on the regeneration scheme for over two years. Ryden has been advising on the best way forward for the project and dealing with interest which has already been expressed in the re-development proposals.