Wed, 28 Mar 2018
LONG-awaited plans to redevelop Thatcham’s Kingsland Centre are unlikely to come to fruition anytime soon.
The centre’s new owner said it is aiming to improve the existing facilities instead.
The Newbury Weekly News reported last month that regeneration developer and investor U+I had sold the shopping centre for £16.1m to Sheet Anchor Evolve.
The new owner has appointed investment and property management company London and Cambridge Properties (LCP) to manage the centre.
LCP asset manager Patrick Durcan spoke to the NWN about the next steps for the centre.
“It’s a good little centre as it stands,” he said.
“Ourselves, LCP, work with Sheet Anchor Evolve, who are the new owners. We provide management support for them.
“We try to improve the management and run things a little bit better.
“There’s some void space on the first floor, which has been empty for quite some time, and we want to try and do something with that to bring it back into use.
“We’re considering options and running appraisals.”
Mr Durcan said that LCP worked with various operators ranging from gyms, hotels and offices and was “speaking to who might be able to make good use of the space and add more to the centre”.
Plans for a new Waitrose store, 13 retail units, the refurbishment and extension of five existing shop units – along with the redevelopment and extension of the upper floor to provide first and second floor accommodation – have been in the pipeline since 2007.
Car parking for 229 vehicles, alongside 226 bays in the current car park, were also included.
The plans were renewed in 2015, but are yet to be implemented.
And when asked about the new owner’s intentions for the site, Mr Durcan said: “I think that a comprehensive redevelopment of the site is unlikely.
“It’s certainly not our intention at this time.
“We’re looking to enhance what’s there rather than undertake a whole scale redevelopment.
“I don’t think it would make financial sense.
“Waitrose are committed to the site and tenants have long-term leases.”
In the meantime, Mr Durcan said LCP would be looking to install free wi-fi throughout the centre and promote the site more actively on social media.
“It’s little changes, just trying to incrementally make it a better destination for people to go to,” he said.
The Kingsland Centre includes Waitrose as its anchor tenant and comprises 54,762 sq ft of retail space with 15 shops.
Mr Durcan said: “With the final vacant retail unit let within the first week of purchase, our focus is now on enhancing the centre and developing the offices within the site.
“Kingsland Centre has a wide range of national and independent retailers and is a popular destination for local shoppers.
“We’ll be using our intensive asset management expertise to support Evolve Estates in ensuring that the centre delivers what customers want.”