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9 ANALYSIS


The UK shopping centre development pipeline has slowed to a trickle, but there are signs of renewed confidence among developers.


project while in Wakefield Sovereign Land has revived Modus’s Trinity Walk. Like its near-namesake in nearby Leeds,


Trinity Walk in Wakefield spent a period in mothballs following the collapse of its original developer Modus Ventures. The site had been abandoned after completion of all of the site works and erection of about a third of the steel frame. In December last year it was bought by


Sovereign Land, AREA Property Partners and Shepherd Construction. As soon as the purchase completed the new owners were back on site, with only minor tweaks to the design. “We revisited the finishes and went for an EFTE roof,” explains Sovereign Land director Chris Geaves. “We’ve made it more efficient so it looks better and works better.” Work has progressed quickly and the


scheme is now targeting a May 2011 opening date. But at the beginning of this year the decision to restart work looked brave. “Instinctively we knew demand was there,” remembers Geaves. And letting progress at the 500,000-sq ft scheme looks to have vindicated that decision. Anchor tenants Sainsbury’s with 117,000


sq ft and Debenhams with 96,000 sq ft have been joined by Arcadia which has taken


20,000 sq ft for its Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons façias. JD is taking a 6,716 sq ft unit and Bank


the adjacent 5,661 sq ft unit – both are high profile two-storey flagship stores at the Teall Street entrance to the centre, which forms the principal link to Wakefield city centre. Republic is taking a 5,877 sq ft single storey unit opposite Next and adjacent to Arcadia. Men’s accessories and gift retailer Menkind has taken 2,562 sq ft while Coral has signed up for 1,227 sq ft. All units have been let on 10-year leases


and Max la Frenais, Sovereign Land’s leasing director, echoes Land Securities’ John Grimes’ view that there is an appreciable improvement in the market. “The tide has turned a bit,” he says. “We’re finding that we’re not having to pay as much in contributions as we’d expected.” La Frenais says quoting terms are based


on £125 zone A although as a rule units are being leased on overall rents. This is less than had been achieved previously in Wakefield, but La Frenais explains: “We started from scratch with rents when we took over the scheme. We have to recognise we’re in a very different market.” The other major town centre scheme


under way is Parkway, Standard Life’s 475,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme in Newbury. Ed Jenkins, fund manager of Standard


Life Investments’ UK Shopping Centre Trust, explains the complex construction project was delayed by the need to excavate multiple levels of underground car parking. But now the shell of the 70,000-sq ft Debenhams anchor store has been completed. “It’s beginning to look like a shopping centre,” says Jenkins. In addition to Debenhams, New Look and


H&M have both taken 20,000 sq ft MSUs. With another 25,000 sq ft of lettings in solicitors’ hands, the scheme is now 45 per cent let or in legals. “And there are more in advanced negotiations,” adds Jenkins. Although he would not be drawn on


rental levels, Jenkins says: “We are offering turnover rents on this scheme, as we are in the rest of our portfolio. We know Parkway will push Newbury up the national rankings and everything we’re doing is in line with our expectations.”


Find out more: For more information, please contact the author or visit the website: www.shopping-centre.co.uk/construction graham.parker@jldmedia.com


www.shopping-centre.co.uk October 2010 SHOPPING CENTRE


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