Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bury Retail Review


The retail market is stirring in Bury.  The town’s famous market might still the main draw for coach trippers but Scottish Widow’s recently announced sale of the Mill Gate Centre hails the prospect of fresh retail investment and lettings at a key town centre asset, which relinquished occupiers to Thornfield’s The Rock, just as the recession bit hard. 

Here’s a quick roundup of what’s happening in Manchester’s northern outpost.

The Rock
Bury is still adjusting to The Rock, which opened in summer 2010, adding 74,000 sq.m of retail space, Vue cinema, AMF bowling and the town’s first clutch of chain restaurants.  The scheme delivered large floorplate units, attracting debutants Primark, Debenhams and Superdry.  Others transferred from traditional prime areas in the Mill Gate Centre, notably M&S, but several vacancies remain following early tenant churn.  More development is promised, adding four restaurant / cafĂ© units at the west end of the scheme on the Sol Viva nightclub site.  Permission was secured in 2013 and the site is ready to go.

The Mill Gate Centre
Contracts were exchanged in June for sale of The Mill Gate Centre by Scottish Widows for about £52 million.  InfraRed Capital Partners is acquiring and will hope to reduce voids caused by tenant failures and defections to The Rock.  It retains BHS as anchor, along with Boots, New Look, Specsavers and Waterstones.  There is potential for reconfiguration of the mainly covered centre.  Scottish Widows drew up a development plan after its purchase in 2005 but the recession that followed and shift of focus to The Rock meant nothing progressed.

Bolton Street
Bury Council granted planning permission in September 2013 for a 12,000 sq.m foodstore on the vacant police HQ site and leisure centre, at Bolton Street, on the western edge of town.  The Council’s partner ASK Developments, must ensure relocation of the leisure centre to nearby Knowsley Street.  Morrisons and Sainsburys were rumoured as a potential occupiers - neither is represented in the town - but local agents doubt the retailer appetite for a large store.  The permission is the subject of judicial review by rival developer Morbaine, which has aspirations for a foodstore across town at Derby Way.  Morbaine’s challenge was initially rebuffed by the courts but a subsequent hearing in March 2014 determined there were legitimate grounds for challenge.  Negotiations are ongoing between the parties; Council Officers say it might lead to cessation of the proceedings.

Derby Way
Morbaine has options on 2.4 hectares of land east of The Rock, occupied by First Bus.  Planning permission for a 10,500 sq.m foodstore was refused in September 2013, at the same committee that approved the Council’s alternative Bolton Street scheme.  Sainsbury’s was associated with the site but, like Bolton Street, sentiments seem to have changed and the retailer is unlikely to commit.
Woodfields Retail Park
A Tesco British Land JV, anchored by the eponymous retailer on the northern edge of the town centre, off Peel Way. Tesco’s superstore is dominant in the town and likely to be extended to add dot.com facilities, servicing a growing demand for multi-channel retailing.  A planning application is with the Council.  The retail park is fully let, home to Boots, Next, Sports Soccer, Currys and JD Sports.

Moorgate Retail Park
Located on the east edge of the centre, Moorgate is recovering from the failure of MFI in late 2008 and Comet in December 2012. Home Bargains mopped up the former MFI unit about 12 months ago – its third outlet in the town.  The Comet space remains available 18 months after the shutters came down, but is the only vacant retail warehouse in town.

Other Town Centre Retail Parks
Angouleme Retail Park (George Street) and Halls Retail Park (Foundry Street) complete the line‑up of town centre retail parks, fully let and neighboured by Asda and Matalan stores on the southern edge of the retail core. Key occupiers include Argos, TK Maxx, Smyths Toys and Pets at Home.

Further afield, 0.8 mile west of the town centre, Lidl is seeking consent for a store at Victoria Street.  The Council refused permission in September 2013, concerned about the site’s out-of-centre location and loss of employment land.  Lidl has appealed and awaits a decision.  In the meantime Aldi has stolen a march on its discount rival, securing space at the neighbouring Crostons Retail Park, ending a patchy period for a former Netto store, which has seen several occupiers come and go since its closure in 2010, ironically just as Netto makes a return to the UK market.

Park 66, Pilsworth
Park 66, at junction 3 of the M66, 1.5 miles south east of Bury town centre, is a mothballed leisure investment next to Asda’s established superstore.  Mutil‑screen cinema, bowling and restaurant buildings were vacated following movement of tenants to The Rock.  A standalone Pizza Hut continues to trade.  Marketing in 2010 generated interest for retailing, subject to planning, but nothing made it off the drawing board.  The site is being marketed now - offers are due in any day and likely to see industrial or warehousing emerge as the preferred use.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Topps Tiles - Bury space ready to go

NEWS Cutting - Insider News 03 July 2014
Flooring retailer Topps Tiles has agreed to take space in Bury. The business will move into a trade counter premises on Webb Street which was previously occupied by Pendle Designs.
The property has been remodelled and refurbished to suit the company's requirements.
Paul Nolan, director of Nolan Redshaw, the sole agent on the property, said: "We are delighted to secure this letting on behalf of our client who has worked closely with Topps Tiles to refurbish this building to suit their needs and we are delighted with the finished product.
"It also follows on from the successful letting we did to Screwfix at the adjacent building twelve months ago and shows that well-presented properties in the right location will attract high calibre occupiers."
Nolan Redshaw and MAZE Planning Solutions acted on behalf of a private client and Topps Tiles was unrepresented.