Lease Opportunity: Howden Park Centre, Howden, Livingston
Howden Park Centre is a well-established arts, culture, theatre, wedding, conference, meeting and party venue that is situated in an idyllic setting in the heart of Livingston, West Lothian's largest town.
Current arrangements for the lease and operation of the Howden Park Centre will end on 31 March 2024 and the council is seeking offers of lease from parties who are interested in operating the facility from 1 April 2024 onwards.
This modern, purpose-built facility (refurbished in 2009) offers a 300-seat auditorium with fully equipped theatre facilities, gallery and exhibition spaces, a full commercial kitchen and licenced bar serving a bistro area and outdoor terrace, multiple general purposes areas providing modern, flexible spaces for private hire, community workshops, office accommodation and breakout areas along with an abundance of free car parking.
Howden Park Centre is also the base for the staff and members of Firefly Arts, who provide youth theatre and associated services for children and young people aged 5 to 25.
Howden Park Centre is centrally located in the heart of Livingston, West Lothian's largest town.
With easy access to Junction 3 of the M8 and the arterial railway stations at Livingston North and Livingston South, Howden Park Centre is readily accessible and has excellent connectivity to Edinburgh, Glasgow and the wider central belt.
Within Livingston, the facility is located within a wooded setting and benefits from proximity to and views towards the green open spaces of Howden Park.
- 300-seat auditorium with fully equipped theatre facilities
- Gallery and exhibition spaces
- Full commercial kitchen and licenced bar serving a bistro area and outdoor terrace
- Multiple general purposes areas providing modern, flexible spaces for private hire
- Community art studios and workshops
- Office accommodation and breakout areas
- An abundance of free car parking for customers and staff
The property is being offered for lease in the following terms:
- The closing date for offers is 12 noon on Thursday 16 November 2023.
- The period of lease shall run from 1 April 2024 to 17 February 2035.
- The property shall be let on a Full Repairing and Insuring (FRI) commercial basis, with the tenant being responsible for repairing and maintaining obligations and occupational costs.
- The council is seeking a commercial annual rent for the property and interested parties are invited to submit their best bids on that basis.
- The lease will provide for rent reviews at the fifth anniversary of the date of entry and every five years thereafter.
- The tenant shall be responsible for the payment of any non-domestic rates attributable to the property throughout the duration of the lease.
- Howden Park Centre is the base for Firefly Arts, who provide youth theatre and associated services for children and young people aged 5 to 25 from the premises. The lease of Howden Park Centre to the new operator will be an interposed lease that takes account of and accommodates the council's existing lease commitments to Firefly Arts.
The council is legally bound by the terms of a funding agreement that relate to funding that was provided to the council by Creative Scotland when Howden Park Centre was refurbished in 2009. Under that funding agreement, the council must ensure that Howden Park Centre continues to operate for specific purposes.
The successful bidder will therefore be required to enter into an operating agreement with the council, the key components of which will be as follows:
- The venue must, for the duration of the lease period, be used as a theatre and arts venue.
- The artists' studio and gallery spaces in the venue must continue to be provided for that purpose.
- Access to Howden Park Centre for the public must be maintained during regular operating hours.
- Partnerships with key stakeholders / organisations must continue to be developed.
- The venue must not be renamed.
- No significant changes to the venue or its operation should be made without the prior written consent of council.
- It is not anticipated that any revenue or capital resources will be provided by the council in relation to the operating agreement.
- Operations shall commence and continue on 1 April 2024 without any period of venue closure or cessation of or interruption to the services, activities and productions delivered from the venue.
- Virtual Tour
- Floor Plans
- Marketing website and particulars
- Howden Park Centre Website
- Council Executive report 3 October 2023 (recommendations approved)
The following additional information can be made available upon request and upon the completion of a legally binding non-disclosure agreement:
- Full building condition survey report and costings (prepared 2023)
- Business operating costs and financial information to 31 March 2023, provided by the previous operator (West Lothian Leisure).
Interested parties are asked to contact Scott Hughes (Strategic Property Asset Manager, West Lothian Council) at email@example.com to discuss their interest and to arrange a site visit to see Howden Park Centre first hand.
Submitting an offer
- The closing date for offers is 12 noon on Thursday 16 November 2023
- Any offers received after 12 noon on the closing date will be returned unopened and will not be taken into consideration by the council.
- All offers must be submitted in an A4 envelope, clearly labelled "OFFER OF LEASE FOR HOWDEN PARK CENTRE, LIVINGSTON". The name and address of the offer or must be clearly provided on the back of the envelope.
- All offers must be addressed to:
The Property Services Manager
West Lothian Council
West Lothian Civic Centre
Howden South Road
- Offers received by fax or email will not be accepted.
- The council does not bind itself to accept the highest or any other offer. The council has a legal obligation to obtain the best terms reasonable obtainable.
Supporting information to be provided by bidders
To enable the council to properly assess all proposals received, interested parties are required to provide supporting information as part any bids to the closing date. Interested parties are asked to use the following checklist to ensure that their offers contain the necessary minimum supporting information:
- Details of the organisation who will operate the venue and be the tenant under the lease (including the business type, legal status / structure and governance arrangements of that organisation).
- A copy of the organisation's last three years published Annual Report and/or audited accounts.
- Details of the annual rent being offered for the property.
- Confirmation and acceptance that the lease shall be on Full Repairing and Insuring (FRI) terms.
- Confirmation and acceptance that the lease period shall be from 1 April 2024 to 17 February 2035.
- Details of how the organisation will meet its financial obligations under the lease and the operating agreement.
- Confirmation that operations at the venue shall commence and continue on 1 April 2024, without any period of venue closure or cessation of or interruption to the services, activities and productions delivered from the venue. This shall include details of the intended approach to mobilising towards venue occupancy and operation with effect from 1 April 2024.
- An overview of the experience, skills and capacity within, or available to, the organisation, to effectively deliver services, manage the venue and comply with statutory obligations.
- Income and expenditure projections for the venue for at least three financial years from 1 April 2024.
- Information on the types of services, activities and programmes to be delivered from the venue, and the projected staffing of venue operations and management.
- Confirmation of the approach to continuing to meet the terms of the proposed terms of the lease and operating agreement.
- Any other information considered relevant by the interested party to its proposed occupancy and operation of the venue.
The foregoing information is provided in good faith, however the council hereby gives notice that:
- This information does not and shall not constitute, in whole or in part, an offer or a contract or part thereof.
- All information is provided without acceptance of any liability in negligence or otherwise by the council.
- None of the information provided is to be relied on as a statement or representation of fact or warranty on any matter whatsoever, and intending bidders must satisfy themselves by whatever means as to the correctness of any statements made.
- The council does not make, give or imply, whether in this information or otherwise, any representation or warranty whatsoever in relation to the property.
- Acquiring or leasing property is major contractual commitment and you are advised to obtain independent legal advice before entering into a contract.