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Wakefield wakes up to Trinity Walk

Wakefield’s Trinity Walk shopping centre opened in early May 2011, and it attracted close to 200,000 visitors during its first weekend of trading. The first centre to open since the economic downturn took hold is already 90 per cent let

but this is skewed by the anchors and in-line units are typically leased for ten to 12 years. “Over recent months we’ve found that

we’ve been saving on the level of incentives that we’d budgeted for,” said Greaves. “There’s really positive interest in the remaining four or five units.” For the moment, the centre is free from

commercialisation, which is probably a good thing given the density of the crowds on opening day. But this will change. “Over the next month we’ll start to look at it,” Geaves said. “We’ll wait for a while and then bring it in over a two- or three-month period.” Geaves also expressed satisfaction with

the way retailers had responded to the centre design. “The shopfits in H&M, New Look and Topshop are as good as anything you’d find on Oxford Street,” he said. The experience of Wendy Cotton,

The 500,000-sq ft centre is anchored by Debenhams (opening Wakefield’s first modern department store) and the largest Sainsbury’s food store in the area at 117,000 sq ft. In addition Next, H&M, New Look, Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, River Island, USC and many more top retail brands have taken space. With the opening of Trinity Walk,

Wakefield leaps 42 places up CACI’s national rankings into the top 60 shopping destinations in the country. The opening of Trinity Walk marks the

end of a long and troubled gestation period. The original developer, Modus Ventures, collapsed in the middle of 2009, with the scheme started but less than quarter built. Area Property Partners, Sovereign Land


and Shepherd Construction stepped in at the end of 2009, backed by an £82m loan from Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets as well as smaller loans from Wakefield Council and Yorkshire Forward. Within two months the consortium had redesigned the scheme with the help of Leslie Jones Architects and was able to restart construction. Sovereign Land director Chris Geaves

said a decision was made early on to be “pragmatic” about rents and lease terms, and in-line stores have commanded £120 to £130 per sq ft zone A, while the big box units – the scheme combines elements of a mall with elements of a retail park – commanded between £35 and £30 per sq ft overall. Lease lengths average 14 to 15 years,

regional manager for Peacocks, was typical of retailers’ reactions: “We had a phenomenal opening weekend trading above target by about 30 per cent,” she said. “We had queues to the front door for most of Saturday. Sunday’s figures were as good as opening day, which – with only six hours trading – was a lot of customers. Customers travelled from all over West Yorkshire and we’re delighted with our store and the whole centre.” And, the rest of Wakefield also

benefitted from the arrival of Trinity Walk – with footfall and trade up across the city centre – clearly demonstrating the wider regenerative impact that the scheme will have on the city. Letting agents for Trinity Walk are

Angermann Goddard Loyd and Lunson Mitchenall.

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