Nottingham property company ALB Group has purchased a prime retail site in Huddersfield with a view to kick-starting a resurgence of the town centre.
The firm has acquired the 80,000 sq. feet building in New Street that currently houses businesses including Primark, Home Bargains, One Below and Ladbrokes.
It follows a number of similar acquisitions by ALB Group across the UK of underperforming town centre retail assets.
ALB is seeking to breathe new life into town and city centres by offering more affordable and flexible lease contracts, particularly to encourage independent, local entrepreneurs to trade alongside the larger high street chains.
The team behind the project is also keen to provide student accommodation above some of the units.
ALB has already seen the green shoots of revival emerging in places like Birkenhead, Derby, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham, where the company announced a plan to recreate the vibe of London’s Carnaby Street in the city’s Bridlesmith Gate area.
Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said: “The New Street building in Huddersfield is a major acquisition for us, and we already have some exciting new tenants lined up for the property.
“Like many towns and cities across the UK, Huddersfield faces difficult challenges with the rising cost of living and high street retailers often struggling to survive.
“But these places represent the life blood of the community, and we are determined to provide an environment that not only supports the existing businesses but also encourages new, independent traders to set up shop. This way, we can help breathe new life into Huddersfield town centre.”
The New Street property is the third major town centre purchase by ALB Group from global asset management company Columbia Threadneedle Investments.
It follows the recent acquisitions of Moxon Island shopping centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, the purchase of Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich, and seven key buildings in Derby city centre’s Albion Street.
The company has refurbished and leased empty retail units there in addition to seeking ways to repurpose and maximise occupancy of any non-retail space in upper floors, such as creating apartments, student accommodation or offices.
Its key to success has been in offering shorter, more flexible leases and lower rents, to attract a new generation of traders, from coffee shops and fashion retailers to leisure activities.
Phil Daniels, director at FHP Property Consultants, Nottingham, represented ALB in the transaction agreed with Columbia Threadneedle Investments.
He said: “It was a pleasure once again to work with ALB Group and advise on the acquisition of this excellent asset in Huddersfield.
“We’re very keen to do more deals on the same sort of lines, to bring underperforming assets back to life, regenerating the nation’s high streets and bringing a wider variety of independent local entrepreneurs into our retail centres.”
Arran’s business partner Harry Whyte, of HBW Group, has every faith in the Huddersfield project. He said: “We have worked in partnership with ALB on a lot of these projects and have been successful in providing 59 units in Birkenhead town centre above TK Maxx, Barclays and British Heart Foundation.”