New businesses are set to move into Kirkcaldy’s Mercat Shopping Centre after it was bought over by a new owner.
Belgate (Kirkcaldy) Ltd, part of Glasgow-based Gatehouse Property Management, has now formally taken control of the retail centre after concluding the deal in May.
The company, which already owns a number of other shopping centres and properties in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Grangemouth, said it has already secured a number of new retailers.
Bosses remain tight-lipped over who will be moving in but it is understood no fewer than eight new retailers will be opening in the near future.
Among them will be a new juice bar, furniture company, florist, a beautician, mobile phone retailer and a charity store.
A new café is also confirmed and a local radio station will also be occupying one of the empty retail units.
Only last week a new initiative was launched allowing the public to have its say on the future of the town’s high street.
It is the first glimmer of hope for the ailing shopping centre, which has seen footfall tail off considerably in recent years as a number of tenants closed.
The centre has also suffered due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on retail.
Now the new owners plan to to revive the Mercat’s fortunes with a series of events and giveaways to entice shoppers back.
A series of farmers and craft markets are also being lined up.
A spokesperson for the new owners, said: “Belgate (Kirkcaldy) Ltd is pleased to have concluded the purchase of the Mercat Centre.
“In the lead up to purchasing the asset the landlord has been actively in discussions with a number of occupiers as part of their strategy to more centralise the retail offering within the High Street and to create a vibrant shopping location within the heart of the town.
“Phase one of this plan has already been successful with a number of new lettings now secured.
“The landlord hopes to be in a position to announce more good news in the very near future.”
The Mercat first opened in 1973 after a considerable £1m investment by original owners Hammerson Group which claimed it to be “one of the most up-to-date developments, not only in Scotland but in Britain.”
Subsequent operators, Lasalle Management Agents, later bought the adjoining former Kirkcaldy Swimming Pool building in 2016 for just £1 from Fife Council, which was demolished two years later.
It was hoped it would make way for a new multi-screen cinema but that fell through when an operator couldn’t be secured.
It is understood the new owners now plan to reopen the former swimming pool entrance and walkway linking a multi-storey carpark as part of improving access to the centre.