ALB Group acquires Sailmakers mall in Ipswich
The struggling Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, has been bought by UK developer ALB Group for an undisclosed sum.
And the new owner said it plans to develop the 133,000 sq ft mall, promising to take a “fresh approach” to encourage more local businesses into the space, reported The BusinessDesk. ALB also said a refurbishment process has already begun.
The centre, which is anchored by department store and features retailers River Island, Boots and Poundland, is currently 75% occupied with the former 7,500 sq ft Topshop store remaining empty.
Part of the redevelopment plan includes the complete refurbishment of two units, earmarking them for local designers, artists, charities or businesses “interested in taking on an eight-week pop-up opportunity at a “very low” rent”, the report said.
ALB Group, which has been acquiring town centre properties in other parts of the UK, said it’s on a drive to “rethink and revive” struggling high streets.
A key strategy is to offer more affordable, shorter-term, flexible leases while also creating “a more attractive environment for local, independent entrepreneurs to trade”.
ALB’s MD Arran Bailey said: “We are determined to rethink the way high streets are managed and offer these important community centres the chance of revival. Sailmakers represents a significant acquisition for ALB, and we can’t wait to support Ipswich along its road to recovery.”
Marketing of the available Sailmakers’ retail units has been awarded to FHP and Prime Retail, with the latter’s partner Tim Lloyd saying: “Sailmakers has been in desperate need of new owners for some time … I see true potential here. In view of what ALB Group has already achieved elsewhere in the UK, Sailmakers couldn’t be in better hands.”
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