< Back News

Government Publishes Details of Bayside / St Anne’s bids – 767/2021

By October 19, 2021 No Comments

Publication confirms that Bayside / St Anne’s plot went to highest bidder by many millions


The latest comments from the Opposition on the excellent deal done by the Government on the Bayside / St Anne’s plot asks that the Government should publish the bids received for these sites.


The Opposition, in trying to find some way to criticise these excellent arrangements, cannot get away from the fact that the combined plots of the old St Anne’s School and the old Bayside School have been sold for development to the commercial entity that bid millions more than anyone else.


The Government recalls that ‘Expressions of Interest’ for the site were invited at the end of 2017.


The bids received were as follows:


Bayside School Plot

Bidder No 1 – £ 5,100,000

Bidder No 2 – No premium stated, wanted more information and sought negotiations.


St Anne’s School Plot

Bidder No 1 – No premium stated, wanted more information and sought negotiations.

Bidder No 2 – No premium stated, wanted more information and sought negotiations.


It should be noted that although Bidder No 2 expressed an interest in both plots,  it was nonetheless obvious that the land was being undervalued by those commercial entities who had expressed an interest.


The Government’s land property agents, Land Property Services Limited, had valued the plots for the Government and the Government were therefore able to use these valuations as a guide in the negotiations in getting the best possible deal for the taxpayer.


There was a discussion over many years with Bidder No 2 which resulted in a premium bid starting at less than £10 million, rising to a premium of £15 million.  This was increased to a maximum final offer of £17 million by Bidder No 2 earlier this year.


In June 2019, the Government made a public announcement that development was being slowed in a number of sites which it owned in different parts of Gibraltar.


The site of the former Bayside/St Anne’s Schools was included among the sites on which development was bring slowed.


The Government explained at the time that proposals received for these site would be assessed in discussions with relevant interested parties at different points in the future.


The delay, therefore, in awarding the plot was the consequence of a deliberate decision taken by the Government to slow down the pace of development in Gibraltar, which was welcomed by many including the Opposition themselves.


That delay also, therefore, created the opportunity for others to come forward in the knowledge that the site was available and the subject of the Expressions of Interest process.


As a result, in late 2019, the representatives of the founders of the TNG Global Foundation contacted the Government to indicate that they would wish to submit a proposal in respect of the invitation for Expressions of Interest opened in respect of the Bayside / St Anne’s plot.


The Government responded that, in keeping with the practice established by the GSD when dealing with Expressions of Interests, it would not be able to engage with the representatives of the founders of the TNG Global Foundation until it had exhausted the negotiations with Bidder No 2, but that it would be free to engage thereafter if the Government’s view of what the premium should be was not met by Bidder No 2. 


Given the additional delays caused by the COVID pandemic, the Government considered the negotiations with Bidder No 2 were not concluded until the start of the summer 2021.  


Engagement with representatives of the TNG Global Foundation to negotiate the terms for them to acquire the Bayside / St Anne’s site, therefore begun in earnest after the summer break and culminated last week.


The Expression of Interest process, which was invented and widely used by the GSD when they were in office, was designed by the GSD to be more flexible than a formal tender process because it allows scope for negotiation with any interested parties that may emerge once it is clear that a site is available for development.


The process for the grant of development rights in respect of the Bayside / St Anne’s site can therefore be seen to have been completed exactly as the Government stated in its original press release, namely, that it ‘followed an Expression of Interest process for the site which has been earmarked for redevelopment for many years now.’


The Opposition can now see that the TNG Global Foundation bid was the highest by far of any bidder.


The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: “The figures made public by the Government today show that the Opposition do not have any valid reason to call into question the grant of the development rights over the Bayside / St Anne’s plot to the TNG Global Foundation.  The Government have acted totally transparently and in the best interests of the taxpayer.  We have not done a direct allocation of land, as the GSD did with Midtown or other areas. The GSLP Liberal Government has made sure that the site was awarded to the highest bidder by many millions of pounds.  That is what the Expressions of Interests process was designed to permit and what we have done.  The people of Gibraltar expect nothing less and will find it difficult to understand why Keith Azopardi and the GSD Opposition want to defend processes that would have seen the Bayside / St Anne’s plot sold cheap. This is a great deal for Gibraltar where the developer pays MORE than any other bidder for these plots.  Having published these details, I hope Mr Azopardi will now better understand that the criticism he is making and the innuendoes he knows he is raising are all entirely misconceived.  This is the right deal for the people of Gibraltar and – alongside the Eastside deal we have done with the same group – a vote of confidence in the Gibraltar economy and the potential of Gibraltar and its people.  What the GSD should do is work to make investors like the TNG Global Foundation welcome in Gibraltar.”