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Kings Walk sale could kick-start BHS and Kings Square developments

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Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 11 July 2017 8:07

Kings Walk sale could kick-start BHS and Kings Square developments

Almost a year since a £25 million deal fell through the sale of Kings Walk Shopping Centre has been confirmed and hailed as a catalyst for change for the city centre.

Securing new ownership is seen not just as the shopping arcade changing hands but the start of a new partnership which could transform the retail hot spot.

It is thought the deal with new owners Reef Estates will lead to talks to secure a new tenant in the two storey former BHS store which opens onto the centre and Eastgate Street, as well as unlock Kings Square’s much discussed revamp.

Jennie Watkins, deputy leader of city council, which has been a key partner in the deal, said: “I think this will be a real catalyst for change in Kings Square. It is what we have been waiting for.

“We have been very frustrated that we have not been able to achieve what we have wanted to. But it is important that we found the right partner and we believe Reef Estates is that partner.”

She added: “BHS is an important store that has been vacant for far too long. We want to see that space back in use. But it is important we work with Reef and speak to retailers already here and those interested in coming here.”

Rumours suggest Primark could move across the shopping centre to the former BHS site.

Ms Watkins did not rule that out.

“All conversations will be on the table with existing retailers,” said Ms Watkins.

Stewart Deering, chief executive of Reef, said: “We are excited to have formed a strategic partnership with the council in order to regenerate Kings Walk Shopping centre that will create a vibrant and exciting shopping environment.”

Details are yet to emerge of the terms and conditions of the sale by Aviva Life and Pensions to Reef Estates.

Peter White is the manager of Kings Walk, which runs from Kings Square through to Eastgate Street and also harbours such names as HMV, SuperDrug, Costa Coffee, River Island and Ann Summer.

“We are just waiting to hear from Reef Estates, but I can confirm the sale has been completed,” said Mr White.

“It is a positive step. It will be great because it should mean some investment in Kings Walk and will hopefully mean new tenants as well.”

In June last year investment firm Vixcroft said it had bought the site from Aviva for around £20million and had pledged a further £5million investment in the site.

In August 2016 we then revealed how the “done deal” between now former owners Aviva and investment firm Vixcroft had been put on ice.

The sale of Kings Walk Shopping Centre did not go ahead “because of the UK's decision to leave the European Union in the referendum”.

 

 

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