A cash-strapped council has sold a conference centre for less than the market value of the site.
Businessman Nasser Din snapped up the TAD Centre in Middlesbrough for £400,000.
Councillors rubber-stamped the deal after being told that the bid represented “best value” for the council.
The site was valued at £523,000 but the centre was earmarked for closure in 2013 as part of a swingeing round of cuts.
Mr Din told reporters he was “very pleased” that the deal had been confirmed and that he hoped attract 20 new business start-ups in the first three years.
Tony Parkinson, executive director of the council’s commercial and corporate services, told the committee that after receiving five expressions of interest in the site in September the process “was put on hold” while the council looked to set a budget.
Mr Parkinson said that Mr Din’s scheme to run the TAD Centre as a business centre fitted the council’s preferred plans after the council ruled it did not have the expertise to run it as a business centre.