Significant interest in Fort George from potential buyers

The Department for Communities has confirmed that there has been significant interest in Fort George from potential buyers.

Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 12:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 4:38 pm
Artist's impression of the former plans for Fort George as contained on the front of a former draft Masterplan from 2007.

It has now been confirmed that since the window for Expressions of Interest closed on Friday last, a total of 11 formal expressions of interest in taking over the riverside site have now been submitted.

It was announced in mid-September that formal expressions of interest were being sought from developers to assess private sector’s interest in investing in the 15-acre former military base, with a deadline set for November 9.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communities, which has inherited the site, remained tight-lipped today over who the interested parties were.

Works at Fort George.

He said: “Eleven expressions of interest have been received. The content of these remain Commercial in Confidence.

“The Department will now consider the Report presented by its property consultants Lisney before deciding the next steps in this process.”

Fort George was vacated by the Ministry of Defence 17 years ago in 2001 and acquired four years later by the then named the Department for Social Development.

The entire site received outline planning permission in 2015, with proposals for housing, office, employment and education uses along with retail, cafes, bars, restaurants and associated parking. Remediation works at the former naval base were initiated some years ago to deal with contaminants and Japanese knotweed. The final round of these works, costing £1.2m and begun in May this year, are expected to be completed within weeks.

Earlier this month, the Journal revealed how government officials could not say how the proceeds from the future sale of the Fort George site will be spent.

The Department for Communities was responding after being asked whether money made in the event of the site being sold would be ring-fenced for Derry or distributed as government officials see fit.

A Departmental spokesperson said it will “review how the proceeds will be allocated” if and when the site is sold.

It is understood the Department is now planning to go ahead with a full marketing exercise to select a purchaser.

A spokesperson for the Department confirmed that interested parties must prove that their plans will benefit “the city and the wider North West”.

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