This short-term asset review and acquisition project saw us negotiate a substantially reduced purchase price for our client.

Maritime were recognised as key stakeholders in the Kent region due to our significant role at Discovery Park, and we were subsequently approached by the buyer with a vision to convert a prominent site in Dover into a technology campus.

The historic Citadel complex, a former 18th-century fort owned by the Ministry of Justice, had been used as a prison, borstal and immigration detention centre before being decommissioned in 2015.

Maritime were instructed to help purchase the historic 70-acre site from the MOJ.

The client had little commercial property experience and needed our specialist backing to prove his viability.

We reviewed the asset and gave proof of funding to the buyer, who presented his plan to transform the UK's largest Napoleonic-era fortress into a cultural and innovative hub to UK government officials.

After initially being offered to the wider market, Maritime managed to position the client as the preferred bidder.

We then began negotiations with the MOJ over the purchase price.

Its location on one of the highest points in Dover and previous use as a detention facility were hindering its development as a practical, functional commercial space.

We recognised that many millions would need to be spent redeveloping the 54-building brownfield site, potentially compromising the feasibility of the whole project.

Our thorough review of The Citadel’s asbestos register also gave us leverage in the negotiations, and we succeeded in agreeing an initial acquisition price substantially below the guide price.

Maritime’s specialist team also negotiated the elimination of an overage clause which could have made the development unfeasible.

Once the purchase price had been agreed, we mentored the client through the legal process, ultimately resulting in a successful purchase.

As part of our 18-month engagement further instructions were then given to help develop the masterplan, ensuring the feasibility of the scheme and the potential for profitability.

The Citadel’s owners have since obtained initial planning applications and grant funding to restore the heritage of the site, and to develop it into a world-leading business and leisure park over the coming years.

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