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James Brent signs deal to take over Plymouth Pavilions

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 19, 2012

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans and Plymouth Argyle chairman James Brent sign the Plymouth Pavilions deal PICTURE: WAYNE PERRY

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A deal has been signed which could pave the way for £83million of investment in a prominent city centre site in Plymouth.

James Brent, chairman of Plymouth Argyle, has signed a contract to take over the Plymouth Pavilions leisure centre from the city council.

The deal will see investment bringing homes, a hotel and an extended arena to the site.

After signing the deal with council leader Tudor Evans, Mr Brent, chairman of the Akkeron Group, also revealed he expects to bring forward plans for a new ice rink at Home Park next spring.

The 1,500-seater venue will be on the car park next to Argyle's stadium and will have an "international-standard" ice rink.

Mr Brent said he had no plans to start a professional ice hockey team for the city, but would welcome proposals by someone else.

He will develop the Pavilions site through his Five Directions Ltd company, which will refurbish the arena, re-clad the building and create a new foyer.

The existing rink and arena facilities are expected to transfer to FDL in October this year and Mr Brent has agreed to keep the Pavilions rink operating until the new venue opens.

He said that developing the two sites would cost between £130 million and £150 million. He plans to build two or three new hotels, providing up to 350 beds. The new-look Pavilions site will also include residential and retail development.

Mr Brent said: "Together with our partners in the city, we believe we have the opportunity to establish Plymouth as the leading centre for sport, leisure and culture in the South West.

"We have a great city in a great region and we are proud to play our part in helping to deliver its potential."

Mr Evans said the contract would not only enable FDL to invest in providing high-quality sport and leisure facilities in Plymouth, but also provide a welcome boost for the regeneration of the West End of the city centre.

"These are hugely exciting plans and they will provide one of the biggest investments in Plymouth for years," he said. "This is a particularly exciting plan given the tough economic climate and will provide a welcome boost to the local economy."

Mr Brent said the new developments would generate an estimated 1,500 construction jobs and then 1,000 full-time jobs.

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