Investment News | 16 February 2022

Plans revealed to breathe new life into city centre shops

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A developer has announced plans to breathe new life into a key retail area in Derby city centre after securing a deal for several buildings.

ALB Group has completed the acquisition of seven properties in Albion Street and East Street.

The buildings, some of which are currently vacant, have housed the likes of GAP Outlet, Goldsmiths jewellers, Sweet Emporium, Card Market, and EE.

Now, ALB plans to offer shorter, more flexible leases and lower rents in order to attract a new generation of independent retailer, and those within the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said: “Albion Street and East Street have been important focal points for Derby’s retail offer for decades, but, like many high streets in Britain, they’ve fallen on hard times.

“Our belief is that we need to change tack slightly and encourage more local, independent businesses onto the high street – ones that offer something different, and more exciting so that we create more reasons to visit and increase the footfall.”

According to ALB, its vision for Albion Street and East Street is to create something similar to London’s Carnaby Street.

It has already begun a similar transformation in Nottingham’s Bridlesmith Gate and Lister Gate, where it has to date snapped up a dozen properties.

Arran said: “The hugely positive reaction we’ve received as a result of our efforts to create a cool, Carnaby Street vibe in Nottingham’s Bridlesmith Gate area has spurred us into trying to achieve the same in Derby city centre.”

According to Arran, to achieve this goal, landlords must be far more flexible and affordable in their lease arrangements, which would benefit everyone, from building owners to retailers and shoppers alike.

As well as the shops, ALB has also purchased upper floors of 1 Albion Street, which it plans to convert into apartments.

Phil Daniels, from FHP Property Consultants, who represented ALB in the off-market transaction agreed with Threadneedle fund managers, said: “We’d love to see more niche, independent entrepreneurs come into the area around Albion Street and East Street and give it a welcome new lease of life.

“We applaud the vision and ambition of Arran Bailey and ALB Group.

“Derby shoppers will no doubt welcome a more exciting, varied and altogether more local breed of retailer, and it will be fantastic to see a buzz returning to the city centre.”

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