Nottingham property developer ALB Group has scored a major success by attracting new businesses to an out-of-town Peterborough shopping centre that was only half-full six months ago.
Ortongate Shopping Centre, in Orton Goldhay, was struggling to attract tenants until ALB Group acquired the site in April.
The developer has since spent invested heavily in the refurbishment of empty “shell” units at the centre, enabling new tenants to move in without the need to spend vast sums on decoration and shop fronts.
The move has led to numerous new businesses signing leases for the vacant units, many of which are local or regional independent traders.
With just 50 per cent of the site occupied back in April, property agent FHP, which is marketing the units on behalf of ALB, has reported there are only five units available to let, with “positive ongoing conversations” with potential tenants for these.
ALB Group is also expecting to announce further positive news imminently, with negotiations underway with a major high street retailer for the lease on the former Wilko store.
Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said: “We’ve quickly achieved what we set out to do by carrying out a comprehensive refurbishment of units that were previously just concrete shells.
“Our creation of ‘white box’ units, all ready for tenants to move into, has provided the catalyst we needed to reverse the fortunes of Ortongate.
“We’re delighted to welcome such a broad range of new tenants to the site, helping to breathe new life into the area.”
New businesses attracted by Ortongate Shopping Centre’s new lease of life include Posh Beds & Furniture, The Orton Sportsbar & Fanzone, JC Kitchens & Tiles, Glo Bar Tanning and Beauty (2 units), Vorwerk appliance store, an independent florist and a barber shop.
Oliver Marshall, director at property agent FHP, said: “Since ALB bought the site, we’ve seen it rapidly transformed from a flagging shopping centre that was only half-empty to one with 80 per cent occupancy.
“The deals we’ve agreed have provided customers with a whole new variety of retailers and leisure businesses – and we are having lots of positive ongoing conversations with other potential tenants.
“The refurbishment work carried out by the new landlord has made the empty units much more attractive and much more accessible to new businesses, and we’re confident that it won’t be long before the remaining 20 per cent is occupied.”
ALB Group announced in May that it had agreed a new five-year lease with Wilko on the flagship 23,436 sq ft unit it occupied at Ortongate. Despite the initial blow when Wilko announced the closure of all its stores, ALB is expecting to make another announcement shortly on the new business that will be taking on the unit.
ALB has been gaining a growing reputation for kickstarting the fortunes of depressed high streets and retail centres across the UK in recent years.
Areas like Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham, Albion Street in Derby and Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich have all benefitted from ALB’s promise of better tenancy terms for traders.
While a wide mix of both large national chains and small independent traders is the goal, ALB has been especially keen to make tenancy agreements affordable and flexible enough to attract more local and niche entrepreneurs.
Built 15 years ago, Ortongate Shopping Centre serves a local population of around 30,000 residents as well as many more from surrounding areas who take advantage of the good transport links and free parking spaces.
For further information about vacant retail units at Ortongate Shopping Centre, contact Oliver Marshall on 07887 787885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.