A DERELICT Southampton site that has been empty for almost three years has been sold.

The former Toys R Us site on Western Esplanade, which shut down in 2018 following the chain’s collapse, has been sold to firm Packaged Living and Fiera Real Estate.

It says the site will make up a “key development” within the upcoming Mayflower Quarter masterplan.

However, Southampton City Council has remained tight-lipped on how much the 4.8 acre site was sold for, stating they were unable to provide that information when asked by the Daily Echo.

As well as this, no details on what the site will become have been revealed, but the buyer has a background in building high-end apartments.

Daily Echo: Artist impression of what the Mayflower Quarter site could look like.Artist impression of what the Mayflower Quarter site could look like.

A CGI of the Mayflower Quarter masterplan at the Leisure World site

Councillor Jeremy Moulton, the council's deputy leader, said: “This is an excellent milestone in the development of this site which we as a new administration are keen to see progress.

“This site, ideally located opposite Southampton Central train station, is a key development within the Mayflower Quarter masterplan which has the aim of attracting private sector investment to regenerate this part of the city and to help improve the delivery on improved green spaces, public realm and access to the waterside.”

The sale comes after the multi-million pound plans to transform the area were given the green light in March.

Existing buildings at the site off West Quay Road, including Leisure World complex, are set to be demolished to make way for 650 homes, two 150-room hotels, 80 serviced hotel apartments, new restaurants, offices, a cinema and a casino.

The project is expected to create 1,000 new jobs and work could start as early as next year.

Southampton Labour Leader Cllr Satvir Kaur said: “We are pleased the new Conservative administration are continuing with Labour’s Mayflower Quarter Masterplan.

"Our plan was to completely reimagine the space, everything from Southampton railway station to Mayflower Park.

"Labour wanted to transform this area into a destination place, while creating jobs and offering affordable housing, green spaces and access to the waterfront for local people. It’s encouraging Labour’s plans are being followed to help the city reach it’s full potential.”