// Boxpark founder Roger Wade warned that the retail and hospitality sectors are in danger of collapse
// He called on landlords and tenants to set aside their differences and work together
Boxpark has reportedly warned that the retail and hospitality sector is on a “collision course to Armageddon”.
The retail park’s founder Roger Wade said if landlords, tenants and the government did not unite to address the rent crisis, then at least 50 per cent of retail and hospitality operators were at the risk of collapse, Property Week reported.
Wade called for urgent measures, such as initiatives like overhauling business rates and encouraging turnover rents, and said that at the end of June, there is going to be up to six months outstanding rent.
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He called on landlords and tenants to set aside their differences and work together.
“We’ve got to realise we’re all in this boat together and unless we all swim together, we will all sink together,” he said.
If landlords reduced rent by a third, the government gave a third towards a grant and operators were responsible for a third, then it may alleviate stress, according to Wade.
Wade, who is both a landlord and tenant, added that for operators to survive, three things needed to happen: the social distancing rule needed to be slashed from two-metres to one-metre; pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels needed to reopen on July 4; and tenants needed to take a more holistic approach to solving their rent issues with landlords.
He said he also wanted to see the three-month moratorium on commercial landlord sanctions against tenants for non-payment.
Moreover, Wade questioned the likely impact of the government’s new £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.
He said it is now a question of survival, and not growth for many businesses.
“If we want to create ghost towns up and down our country, then, you know what, do nothing,” Wade said.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Boxpark revealed further details of its ambitious expansion plans as it confirmed that it was in “advanced negotiations” with investment partners for a cash injection to drive it.
Boxpark said its expansion strategy would involve the launch of its first smaller BoxHall site, which will have between six and 12 food vendors, in London next year.