How new sports shop owner wants to help build a brighter future for city after Broadmarsh failure

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A Nottingham businessman is championing the regeneration of one of Nottingham’s major thoroughfares.

Julian Marzano, 63, has opened a Rossi Clothing Company store under the banner of 'The Sports Warehouse' in Lister Gate and is urging fellow businesses to follow suit.

The store is in the former Shoe Zone shop close to the entrance to the Broadmarsh and specialises in branded sports gear and fashion at highly discounted prices.

Julian is confident that, if business people like him commit to reopening vacant shop units in the vicinity of the Broadmarsh Centre, it’s a plan that could help build a brighter future for people in the south of the city.

The clothing wholesaler and former owner of the Sports Warehouse in Sneinton Market is a local man with a deep understanding of local issues, he is keen for the move to mark a new beginning for this much-maligned part of Nottingham.

He said: “When the planned redevelopment of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre ground to a halt at the start of lockdown, it felt like a real kick in the teeth for the people around here.

“The redevelopment was set to include a bowling alley and a cinema, as well as bars and restaurants. But we’ve all seen these projects fail in the past, so it was no great shock when the work ground to a halt.”

Staff members Alice Beal and Kirsty Daxner

Staff members Alice Beal and Kirsty Daxner (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

The Broadmarsh Centre, a 450,000-square-foot structure comprising 55 retail units, was left in limbo when Intu, the previous owners, went bust during lockdown.

The official receiver of the 1970s building then handed the property back to the city council – and in the wake of an £8million grant from the Government, work has now resumed on the demolition project.

In the first instance, that project will enable the reconnection of the thoroughfare between the railway station and the city centre. And in the longer term, the plan is to use the site to encourage sustainable leisure and commercial activity through mixed-use development.

Julian, who signed his lease in the knowledge of the Broadmarsh difficulties, added: “My new shop on Lister Gate certainly makes good business sense. After all, Base Lettings kept the rent low to help encourage investment – and despite the area’s well-documented troubles, its position is full of potential in terms of footfall.”

Sarah Conneally, director at Base Lettings, which specialises in residential and commercial lettings throughout the region, is equally clear about the commercial value of the area.

Inside the new store

Inside the new store (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

She said: “The unit sits on a pedestrianised thoroughfare, directly between the train station and the Old Market Square, putting it in prime position for shoppers and casual visitors.

“Of course, it’s no secret that this part of the city has seen difficult times with boarded up shops and vacant premises, but by tempting enterprising business owners back into these units with low rents, we believe the area can be transformed through commercial success.”

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For Julian, however, the opening of his new shop is as much about good news as good profits.

He added: “I want ours to be the shop that gives other business owners the confidence to invest their time and money in this area.

“Then we can really start turning the place around and give people some genuine optimism about our recovery from the social and economic impacts of Covid 19.”

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