Our involvement in this open-air shopping centre, which is based on a high street concept, started in 2006 when we provided development consultancy advice to West Berkshire District Council (WBDC). This focused on scheme composition and the selection of a development partner for a proposed 475,000 sq ft retail, leisure and residential mixed-use urban centre to provide a more rounded offer for Newbury Town Centre in light of recent or proposed competition from nearby towns.
Following the appointment of Aberdeen Standard (ASi) as the development/funding partner, we continued our role with the land owner (WBDC) to safeguard their financial interest and provide development consultancy advice whilst also being appointed by ASi to progress the leasing on the retail property, given all the due diligence and occupier conversations we had undertaken on behalf of WBDC.
The start on site for Parkway in 2008 coincided with one of the most significant commercial property downturns in a couple of generations. But this gave us the opportunity to secure the first town centre John Lewis at Home store, as the downturn prevented a number of the larger developments that JLP were hoping to anchor from happening and Newbury had the catchment attributes that the retailer required.
Parkway opened in 2011 and the MMX Retail team are now completing a proactive lease expiry and asset management workstream, as a number of the original leases were on 10-year terms. We have been proud to secure a number of award-winning independent retailers such as The Unruly, 137 East, Drink, Distil and Artisans Handmade.
Noting the downward trend in the department store market since 2018, we have also been focused on active targeting of potential replacements for Parkway's original department stores. We were delighted firstly to be able to secure Next for 50,000 sq ft - which was one of their largest town centre acquisitions in some time - but also because Parkway had been chosen by the retailer to make a return to the town centre, closing their out-of-town store, given the continued strength of Parkway in the town centre.
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