IT is the dramatic last ditch deal which could breathe new life into a doomed flagship conference centre.
The Eastpoint Centre’s future hangs in the balance after it closed last month amid crippling debts of £150,000.
But today the Daily Echo can reveal a last minute bid to prevent the community hub in Thornhill, Southampton, from being stripped bare.
Landlord Plus You Limited (PYL) confirmed it has forged a deal with Itchen College to save the £10.5 million centre.
It buys them more time to pave the way to reopen the Bursledon Road-based centre.
Administrators Baker Tilly were poised to auction the centre’s furniture, fixtures and fittings, to raise money for more than 30 creditors.
But the sixth form college stepped in and has bought the centre’s entire collection of plasma televisions, laptops, tables and even its kitchen sinks as they were on the brink of going under the hammer.
The deal, in the region of £200,000, means the rapidly growing college can use the facilities while PYL searches for new occupants.
PYL chief executive Debbie King said she was delighted with the partnership, adding: “All of the chattel has been purchased and we have retained the building as it is.
“We are now planning for several scenarios and we are looking at our options.
“We want it to be a viable option for the building and the community of Thornhill.”
College principal Barry Hicks said securing the goods will make it easier to find new occupants and added: “It’s really important to the community that it is not just emptied and boarded up.
“This keeps it as a live building and we are very excited to be using some of the rooms.
“I am very sorry that it was not a successful venture but we have committed ourselves to give it an opportunity.”
A spokesman for Baker Tilly said: “Prior to the auction we received an acceptable offer for the whole of the catalogue. Everything on the list of fixtures and fittings has been sold.”
As previously reported, 23 Eastpoint Centre staff lost their jobs when it closed on January 22 after it was deemed no longer financially viable to keep open.
It was built in 2001 and initial plans to develop a new Itchen College next door eventually collapsed.