The auction sale of the Postings Shopping Centre in Kirkcaldy has caught the eye of the media nationally and internationally.  With a reserve price of £1, there had been much speculation over what would happen when the Centre eventually went under the hammer. Even the One Show got in on the act.

The auction took place this week with the final price reported as being £310,000.

While this is not as dramatic a price as £1, the purchaser has still taken ownership of a 21 store shopping centre in the centre of Kirkcaldy for a sum not unlike the cost of a four bedroom house in that town.

Inevitably, all of this raises questions about the state of retail property. It also seems to be in step with the unfolding narrative of diminishing fortunes for retail occupiers.  With Debenhams and Paperchase looking at CVAs and HMV having just been sold out of administration for the second time in five years, there is no shortage of tough times in retail.

I would suggest however, that there is another way of looking at all of this. Surely the Postings Shopping Centre, together with so many similar neighbourhood shopping schemes, has simply had its day. Being designed and built in the late 1970s means that the centre cannot meet the requirements of modern day retailers and shoppers which have changed beyond measure over the last 40 years.

A £1 reserve price does not reflect the negative state of retail. It reflects the shift in culture, habits and expectations of our population which has seen a transformation in modern retail and leisure hubs.

Let’s not be downbeat – let’s celebrate the evolution of our built environment. Let’s be encouraged by a deal which will hopefully see a sadly outdated building re-developed or re-purposed in whatever form and useful life brought back to a corner of Kirkcaldy.  Small towns across the nation take note - there is much more of this to come.

For further exploration of themes relating to the evolution in property please see the Burness Paull Urban AGE report.