REAL ESTATE - Ipswich local authority in eastern England is to seek pension fund investment in a regeneration project comprising retail, leisure and possibly residential real estate.

The plans – which have yet to be approved by the council’s executive – centre on an Olympic-sized swimming pool that will take at least a year to build. The rest of the complex, if approved, will likely be completed in 2010.

A brief in development for the site includes housing, hotels and some office real estate. The scale of the pool project is not yet clear. "It’s a very, very big site," said Judy Terry, council portfolio holder for culture and leisure.

A waterfront university to open next year would increase investor interest in the area, she said, adding that the council had already invested "getting on for" £1m (€1.47m) in regenerating the area’s cultural infrastructure.

The council has as yet no idea of the size of investment it is seeking for the site – or which pension funds it will target.

Peter Edwards, corporate finance manager at Suffolk County Council, which covers the area, said the council’s investment strategy ruled it out as a potential investor.

"We don’t invest directly in property," he said. "All our real estate investment is through property unit trusts, and an external property investment manager [Schroder’s] does the selecting."

UK property makes up 11.5% of the €1.3m fund.