A property investor is close to completing a £534,000 deal ‘at any minute’ to buy the Castle Place shopping centre in Trowbridge.

The investor from the north of England was the mystery telephone bidder who snapped up the shopping centre in mid-December.

It is understood he has visited Trowbridge several times in the past few weeks to speak to existing Castle Place tenants, Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce, Trowbridge Town Council, Wiltshire Council and property landlords.

The Wiltshire Times has learned he runs a property investment company with a previous track record of buying run-down shopping centres with growth potential.

It is understood that he plans to keep Castle Place as a shopping centre and hopes to attract big new tenants to fill the two large flagship units vacated by Wilko’s and Shaws the Draper last year.

His plans have yet to be revealed, but Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce president Kez Garner, who also runs Invest in Trowbridge, said: “I have met him and have had lots of conversations with him.

“He is trying to learn as much as he can about the town and the businesses here while he is finalising the purchase of Castle Place.

 “He is quite rightly trying to find out what would work and he has been shown comments about the possibility of a bowling alley and artisan markets, and whatever would be successful and what people want.”

Sitting on a prominent 1.73-acre site on Market Street, Castle Place is currently managed by APAM UK Ltd on behalf of Nexus Properties Ltd.

It is understood the purchase was due to be completed last Friday and again on Monday but has been delayed because of the availability of lawyers.

Ms Garner says the deal could be completed “any minute now” and has been a complicated transaction because of all the issues involved.

He said: “It has escalators, lifts and a car park, plus the existing tenants. It is one of those ‘any minute’ things.”

Castle Place went up for sale on December 13 for the third time in a year in a public online auction run by commercial auctioneers Acuitus.

They sold the covered indoor shopping centre in Market Street in just 11 minutes to a mystery telephone bidder whose name was undisclosed.

The property was sold for a lot less than the £1.1 million that it fetched in May when it was sold prior to auction.

In May, it went for nearly three times its guide price of £400,000 to local developer David Campbell, of Belgravia 17 Investments Ltd, who failed to complete the purchase.

Castle Place was listed for sale by Acuitus at £400,000 for the second time on September 21 and was again withdrawn prior to the auction taking place but the sale didn't go through.

It was listed for sale again for the third time on December 13 with a guide price that was raised to £450,000.

The shopping centre contains an indoor mall with a market hall below, plus a leisure centre above and car parking.

It also has the St Stephen’s Place multi-storey car park owned by Wiltshire Council at the rear.

The council has indicated it could be open to offers to sell the multi-storey despite a restrictive covenant giving free parking for the town’s businesses and visitors.

The current gross income at Castle Place is approximately £241,081 a year but it is known that some of the existing tenants are several months behind with their rent payments.