Friday, 30 November 2012

British Land in Lancaster with Centros

The UK’s largest listed retail landlord British Land has acquired the Canal Corridor North site in Lancaster city centre. The land includes the former Mitchell’s brewery. British Land has appointed Centros as development manager (so it's not 'Goodbye Centros' after all, I got that wrong, sorry).

A development agreement is also in place with Lancaster City Council for the acquisition of its adjoining land to enable the delivery of a significant canal-side, mixed-use scheme across a 10 acre site.

Bound to the east by the Lancaster Canal and with two working theatres and a musicians cooperative, the site is next to the city centre and developers hope to significantly improve the city’s retail offer.
The project has had a troubled history, with first Carillion and then Centros upsetting local groups and residents with concerns about impacts on existing retailers, traffic, affordable housing, heritage, lack of clarity around design issues, financial liability and the lack of projections available around its proposed 250 year lifespan. See our many, many, previous stories. More recently a Judicial Review prioritised development of the site over a proposed out of town supermarket development in Scotforth, which was rejected. It is thought that the new development plans will include a foodstore. Locals await the latest round of proposals

British Land tell us:

"The development is set to further enhance the fortunes and overall appeal of the city. It will significantly improve public space, the city’s cultural attractions and retail provision. The scheme will also boost the local economy through the creation of many new jobs and act as a catalyst for attracting further investment.

"The next step over the coming months will be detailed discussions with key stakeholders including Lancaster City Council and English Heritage. This will lead to an extensive consultation process with the public."

The project has had a troubled history, with first Carillion and then Centros upsetting local groups and residents with concerns about impacts on existing retailers, traffic, affordable housing, heritage, lack of clarity around design issues, financial liability, skewed consultations and the lack of available short- or long-term projections around its proposed 250 year lifespan. See our many, many, previous stories. More recently, a Judicial Review prioritised development of the site over a proposed out of town supermarket development in Scotforth, which was rejected.

It is expected that the new development plans will include a foodstore.


Richard Wise, Head of Retail Development for British Land, said: “Working closely with Lancaster City Council and English Heritage, our aim is to deliver a scheme that complements the site’s historical setting. Lancaster has seen very little retail investment over the last two decades and we look forward to creating a retail and leisure destination to serve local people and attract significant numbers of visitors into the city.

“We are confident that a relatively modest initial investment could lead to a future development with a targeted end value of over £75 million.”

Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration at Lancaster City Council, added: “This investment by British Land is a major coup and a vote of confidence in the future of Lancaster and the district as a whole.

“Along with the other exciting developments at Lancaster Castle and Luneside East, the Canal Corridor North site holds the key to our regeneration and future economic growth. These are exciting times for the Lancaster district and shows we are well placed to build our economy and create jobs for local people."

British Land is one of Europe’s largest real estate companies with seven million sq ft of high quality offices and around 28 million sq ft of retail space across 82 retail parks, 92 superstores, 13 shopping centres and 9 department stores.

The company owns Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield and is building the Leadenhall Building, informally called the Cheesegrater because of its distinctive shape, in the City of London.

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