High street retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is the latest company to take a lease at the Urban Exchange retail centre in Manchester, it was revealed today.
M&S has signed for a 19,353 sq ft ground floor unit at the centre owned by Town Centre Securities (TCS), with property company CB Richard Ellis representing the retailer in negotiations.
Now only one unit at the development is not currently taken, with the M&S branch set to be fitted immediately in anticipation of a summer opening.
TCS took over the 120,000 sq ft scheme in 2008 when Danish furniture retailer ILVA fell into administration, at which point it was empty, and TCS has been working hard ever since to find viable tenants.
Edward Ziff, Chairman and CEO of Town Centre Securities, said: “To be in a situation where a prominent building of this magnitude is left vacant presents many challenges and we are incredibly proud to have been able to overcome these to create a successful scheme in the midst of a challenging economic climate.”
The low number of forthcoming major retail schemes shows that demand for expansion from retailers has slowed down considerably over the last couple of years.
In spite of the current difficult trading environment, M&S CEO Marc Bolland plans to expand the retailer’s property portfolio so 95 per cent of the UK population are within a 30-minute drive of one of its stores.
Aldi and Go Outdoors were the last two retailers to sign up to the Manchester scheme, which both opened their outlets at the start of April, and now only a 7,233 sq ft ground floor unit remains vacant.
Ziff continued: “We have always had confidence in the whole Piccadilly Basin scheme as it occupies such a key site within the City of Manchester and the major retailers we now have in occupation will undoubtedly ensure its continued success.”