Hundreds of publicly-owned buildings could soon be sold-off across Aberdeen to raise millions of pounds for council coffers.
The cash-strapped local authority agreed to reduce its property holdings as part of last year’s budget talks, as councillors tussled with options for cutting £40 million.
Now buyers with an interest in more than 300 sites across the city are being asked to make themselves known – and to tell officials which properties they would be most interested in purchasing.
Aberdeen City Council has valued the lots at £45 million, with hope funds raised can be put towards ongoing regeneration work.
While it is understood some of the properties are currently empty, many have existing tenants who could be forced to move on following their sale.
The authority is considering offloading around 90 industrial units, 15 offices, 75 shops and 130 ground lease properties – which are sites rented to a developer that are turned back over to the landlord at the end of the agreement.
It is estimated the portfolio raises around £5 million in rents every year.
The city centre shopping centres, £333 million Teca – which includes P&J Live – and £107 million Marischal Square are on a list of excluded sites that would not be up for sale.
A council spokesman said: “In 2019, as part of the council’s budget setting process, it was agreed to review our commercial property portfolio, which largely dates back to the former district and regional councils.
“At this stage Aberdeen City Council is simply seeking to gauge market interest in its commercial estate to inform future decision making.
“It should be noted that the portfolio described excludes key strategic locations such as strategic city centre sites, Marischal Square and Teca.”
He added that further details of properties that could be sold off would not be disclosed due to “market sensitivities”.
The property holding could be sold-off as a single entity or broken down into smaller lots depending on market demand.
Council officers are currently exploring the best approach to the potential sale – including gauging which properties are most attractive and how to price lots to make sales easiest to fund.
Officials are also to take feedback on whether buyers would purchase properties as an ongoing concern, working with existing tenants, or whether the land would be bought with a view to future development.
SNP group leader on Aberdeen City Council, Alex Nicoll, said: “The council must look to save money where it can and if selling off these buildings makes financial sense then that is what should be done.”