Will £50m property be bought by football tycoon for 40p?

Will £50m property be bought by football tycoon for 40p?


A proposed change in property legislation could mean that a £50 million site in the centre of Edinburgh could be bought by former Rangers owner, Sir David Murray, for under 40p, reported the Scotsman yesterday.

The 1.68 acre site, housing the Princes Mall shopping centre, is located in a prime city address and is currently owned by the public as ‘common good’ land.

But, a revival of legislation could mean that the wealthy magnate is able to acquire the entire site for a tiny amount, even though it generates around £2 million per annum from the shops within the centre.

The former footballing businessman could assume ownership of the site through his property company, Premier Property Group (PPG), which purchased a long-term lease on the site in 2004 for £37 million.

The potential changes in the law come after The Scottish Government took the decision to revive The Long Leases Bill (Scotland) which expired in the last parliament, allowing long-term lease holders, like PPG, to take over land and property with over 100 years left on their lease.

The amount for which Sir David Murray could purchase the site, formerly known as Waverley Market, is calculated from the rent PPG currently pay to Edinburgh city council, which according to the Scotsman is just 1p per year.

The Scotsman reported land expert and author of Who Owns Scotland, Andy Wightman’s discontent: “I am not pleased the legislation is being revived. If civic Edinburgh wants to leave a legacy [in Waverley Market] to future generations, it needs to put up a fight now.”

Further echoing Wightman’s concerns, the Scotsman further noted Green MSP and Councillor Alison Johnstone’s comments: “We need to ensure that Waverley Market has a specific exemption and isn’t handed over to a wealthy business tycoon as a consequence of this legislation.”

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