The UK and Ireland is a unique retail market and in particular, the UK is one of the leading retail destinations in Europe and it is home to the highest proportion of international retailers. Over the coming pages RLI takes a closer at the UK and Ireland markets and a selection of retail real estate projects that have recently opened and are due to launch in the years to come.
The role of shopping centres across the UK & Ireland is in an ever-changing flux as consumer behaviour continues to shift post-Covid. What is clear is that there has been an increased desire for a greater integration of leisure & restaurants, residential, healthcare, offices and technological advancements in shopping centre and mixed-use destinations.
Following what has been a relatively challenging start to the year, marginal deflation and improvements to consumer confidence suggest healthier times for retail are imminent explains Savills in their research article ‘Spotlight: Shopping Centre and High Street – Q1 2023’.
The article moves on to explain that while the Q1 shopping centre investment volume was directly in-line with the five-year average, prices continued to fall as sentiment worsened across the commercial property markets. £369.2M was transacted in the first quarter of 2023 across 19 deals, which is a marked increase in the number of transactions on previous first quarters.
Meanwhile, Cushman & Wakefield’s ‘Irish Investment Marketbeat Q2 2023’ report highlights that investment interest in volumes slowed further in the second quarter of 2023, with only €330M reached across 26 deals compared to €920M across 27 deals in Q1. Despite this, investor interest in the retail sector has improved in recent times thanks to the increase in yield on offer from the sector as well as the resilience in Irish consumer spending.
Projects Across the UK & Ireland
Revised proposals for the final phases of the regeneration of Wapping Wharf, designed to build on the success and special character of Bristol’s popular dockside neighbourhood, have been submitted to Bristol City Council. If approved, the plans for Wapping Wharf North will secure the future of the CARGO independent businesses and create a go-to leisure destination on the city docks. They will also provide much-needed sustainable new homes, shops, restaurants, takeaways and workspaces, together with generous landscaped public spaces and more natural habitat for wildlife to improve biodiversity. The proposals, by developers and owners Umberslade, have been significantly revised following consultation. Significant changes include removing the double-storey rooftop restaurant on the tallest building and one storey on another block and redesigning CARGO and the market hall to make them more like the existing shipping container development.
Developed by Battersea Power Station Development Company, Battersea Power Station opened last year and is at the heart of one of central London’s largest, most visionary new developments, which will see this vast 42-acre (over eight million square feet) former industrial brownfield site become home to a community of homes, shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, offices and over 19 acres of public space. This legendary London landmark and surrounding area has been brought back to life as one of the most exciting and innovative mixed use neighbourhoods in the world – a place for locals, tourists and residents to enjoy a unique blend of shops, bars, restaurants, leisure and entertainment venues, parks and historical spaces. It is a place to shop, eat, drink, live, work and play.
Uniquely located within a renowned London Square addressing Oxford Street, Harley Street and Regent Street this four storey subterranean development will be a world first wellbeing destination incorporating healthcare, retail and commercial space. Cavendish Square London by developer Reef Group is the world’s first mixed-use development specifically for the health and wellbeing industry. Set over four levels below the historic Cavendish Square Gardens, the scheme will total 280,000sq ft with floors of up to 80,000sq ft. Distinct entrances to Harley Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street, offer occupier and customer flexibility; one square, three addresses. Tenant hand over is scheduled for this year.
South London’s Borough Yards has continued its emergence as one of the capital’s leading mixed-use districts with the arrival of 12 new brands. The 140,000sq ft regeneration project – providing new offices, a cinema, shops and restaurants next door to the iconic Borough Market – saw leading beauty, food, fashion and homeware operators open their doors back in June. Borough Yards is one of the most exciting and unique developments in London and the developer MARK is creating a vibrant new London destination to shop, eat, work and play, right next door to the famous culinary crucible, Borough Market. Based in and around a series of restored and reconceived railway arches, Borough Yards is a new chapter for Southwark and the wider Borough Market area. Cheyne Capital Management has provided a £122.8M senior loan to MARK, the pan-European real estate investment manager, to refinance the newly developed, mixed-use scheme. The loan provided was used to refinance the existing lender group following practical completion and partial lease-up.
Bloomsbury Quarter, a project by CCP 5, a fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners, has received resolution to grant from the London Borough of Camden to refurbish and reposition Sicilian Avenue, London’s first historic pedestrianised high street, alongside delivering high-quality, ESG certified office space at Vernon & Sicilian House and 21 Southampton Row. The first part of the refurbishment works at Sicilian Avenue will focus on the west side, delivering 10,000sq ft of retail, while 55,000sq ft of offices is being developed at Vernon & Sicilian House and 21 Southampton Row. Further plans are underway for the remaining space and once complete, Sicilian Avenue will offer 17,000sq ft of prime retail space, extensive amenities and end of journey facilities. The project is targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating. Knight Frank Asset Management is working with Tristan Capital Partners to deliver the repositioning and refurbishment of the site. Alchemy Asset Management is the development manager for Bloomsbury Quarter. Knight Frank and Bluebook are the appointed office agents with P-THREE and CBRE acting as retail agents.
Oldham Council is redeveloping Spindles Town Square, changing it from being solely retail-focused to a place for all the community to use. This means providing better shops, new space for work and an improved leisure and entertainment offer for people of all ages. Work has already started and over the coming months people will begin to see the changes that are afoot as the development works to a summer 2024 completion date. The redeveloped Spindles Town Square will provide a new home for Tommyfield Market, which will relocate to a new split-level market, purpose-built in and around the former TJ Hughes unit. It will boost the centre’s shopping, leisure and entertainment offer, as well as being better for traders who can benefit from increased footfall, access to the adjacent car parks and nearby public transport stops. Part of the transformation will see an improved retail space that will offer shoppers a better experience. The new retail area will make it easier and more enjoyable to visit, with shops in one main area instead of scattered throughout the centre.
Set to complete next year by joint developers Drum Property Group and Stamford Property Investments, Candleriggs Square is a brand-new development in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. The £300M transformation of Candleriggs Square in Glasgow’s Merchant City has reached another significant development milestone with the completion of structural work for a 346-apartment build-to-rent (BTR) complex, forward funded by Legal & General. Designed to meet the growing post-lockdown demand for affordable and high-quality city centre rental accommodation in vibrant city centre locations, the 325,000sq ft building will provide 346 apartments together with a range of retail and commercial units at ground floor level creating an attractive and accessible public realm.
Planning approval has been granted for Brookfield Riverside – a major mixed use new town centre, retail, leisure and housing development for the Borough of Broxbourne. The Borough of Broxbourne and Hertfordshire County Council, together with their development partners Sovereign Centros and Peveril Securities, have received planning approval for the €580M Brookfield Riverside development, part of the wider Brookfield masterplan including a new Garden Village, at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Seen as a significant future economic generator for the region, the new town centre and garden village will deliver the 335,000sq m mixed-use town centre development and 1,500 residential dwellings including 1,250 homes and 250 apartments, as well as parking for 2,000 vehicles. Brookfield Garden Village will also provide a primary school, neighbourhood centre and other council facilities needed in the area. The development will also see improved road and junction infrastructure, with new cycling and pedestrian links to connect to Cheshunt and the works are expected to complete in 2025.
The Elephant and Castle Town Centre redevelopment is one of Central London’s largest regeneration projects. The town centre is being brought forward in three main phases. The first phase of development at Elephant and Castle opened in 2017 and is managed by Get Living. Elephant Central incorporates 374 homes for rent alongside 278 student studios, across three buildings. Retail and leisure within the first phase includes a supermarket, a gym, a nursery and independent retailers. The second phase is currently underway and focuses on the comprehensive redevelopment of the former Elephant and Castle shopping centre into a new town centre that will serve as the hub and focal point of the local community. With Multiplex now appointed, the second phase construction is targeted to complete in 2026. The third and final phase will be delivered on the existing London College of Communication, UAL site following their move into their new campus. This phase will provide a further 498 new homes (333 market rent, 49 affordable rent and 116 social rent) as well as retail space and a 500-person capacity cultural venue.
St Michael’s is an exciting new landmark development at the heart of Manchester’s city centre that sets a new standard in quality and experience. With 186,000sq ft of sustainable human-centred workspace, a five-star international hotel, world-class dining and a vibrant public square, St Michael’s will capture the pioneering spirit of this remarkable city. The St Michael’s project is the shared dream of Relentless Developments, KKR and Salboy. Together, they will deliver a thriving business district of Manchester, offering the best office space, in a sustainable building, that will support the health and wellbeing of its occupiers both now and into the future. It starts with No. 1 St Michael’s that will launch next year. Featuring nine stunning floors of people-centric workspace, it will be complemented by world-class rooftop dining, stunning outdoor spaces and a proper British boozer/the renowned Manchester institution, Abercromby. The second phase will launch in 2027 and bring a new five-star hotel, complete with ultra-luxurious spa, dining and leisure facilities – plus an exciting option to call St Michael’s home.
The Crossings in Dublin, Republic of Ireland is a new vibrant shopping and retail environment to serve the affluent and growing catchment and put The Crossings, Adamstown on the map in terms of modern retailing. The first phase of The Crossings is now open and features 11,700sq m of retail space alongside 279 residential units. When fully complete, The Crossings will comprise of 975 residential units, 18,000sq m of retail space and 3,500sq m of commercial uses to include a civic/library building, creche, enterprise centre and primary care facility. Under development by Quintain who are best known for the transformation of Wembley Park in London and the third largest developer in Ireland, The Crossings is being designed to be a truly mixed-use community with a two-acre village green as the focal point for the area as a place to unwind and dine and to bring people together at events, artisan markets and family fun days.