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New Future for Summerland 19 March 2009

The Department of Tourism & Leisure has today announced that, subject to further conditions, investigations and negotiations, it has selected the Sefton Group’s proposal for a new family leisure complex to be known as ‘The Wave’ to be constructed on the former Summerland site. Prior to the agreement of a formal lease, the Department and the Sefton Group have entered into a temporary Licence on the site for up to four months to allow the Sefton Group to undertake detailed investigations of the site. Should the outcome of these investigations be successful, Tynwald approval will be sought to enter into a long term lease.

The selection of the Sefton Group’s proposals is the result of the completion of a formal expression of interest process, which the Department initiated last year, and which generated a number of expressions of interest and a detailed series of presentations from those shortlisted.

The Sefton Group’s proposals are now the subject of contractual negotiations with the Department and a time frame has been agreed between the parties to set a target for all the required approvals and the essential surveys of the site to be concluded by June 30th 2009.

Hon Martyn Quayle MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure said: “ ‘The Wave’ will provide much-needed family leisure facilities for all age groups on the Island. The development will potentially consist of multiplex cinemas, ten-pin bowling, child-friendly facilities, and exhibition areas which can also accommodate skating. There are also separate areas for casino and bingo envisaged, conference and functions facilities, all complemented by a selection of restaurants and bars. ‘The Wave’ will provide a new destination venue for all age groups from tots to teens and beyond and fulfils the Department’s objectives for the site. Clearly, this is a very significant step forward in a long-held ambition of the Department to see a state-of-the-art, family-friendly facility to replace Summerland with what would be a fantastic iconic building. Undoubtedly, there is much more work and discussions required and I will be facilitating a presentation for all Members of Tynwald on the plans and proposals in order to seek their approval prior to the summer recess.”

The Sefton Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Lewin, said: “A considerable amount of work has gone into creating ’The Wave’ and we are delighted that the Department has chosen our scheme to take forward. We are now committed to further investment which will enable us to proceed with the next steps expeditiously such as the critical site surveys and the necessary consultations. We will then be able to proceed quickly with construction provided all the requisite approvals and contractual agreements are also completed in a timely manner. ‘The Wave’ provides the Sefton Group with the potential opportunity of relocating and enhancing within a new state-of-the-art complex, its existing cinema, casino and bingo and previous ten-pin bowling operations and complementing them with new leisure facilities and a significant conference and function capability. All this is also underpinned with our proven expertise in food and beverage management.”

“It is important both to the Department and to the Sefton Group that the next steps, in particular the consultation, surveys and the necessary contractual discussions are completed by June 30th in readiness for Tynwald consideration in July 2009. Our alternative to the development of the Summerland site on our own property ’Middlemarch‘ at Lord Street still remains an option and as we are able to firm up “the Wave” over the next 4 months, we will then be able to announce our broader plans and ambitions including our plans for a new 150 bedroom Hilton Hotel.”

“ ‘The Wave’ therefore forms part of our larger investment commitments to the Leisure and Hotel sectors and I appreciate the leadership that Minister Martyn Quayle and the Department of Tourism and Leisure have shown in expediting matters and look forward to working with them to take forward ‘The Wave’.”

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