Rugby shopping mall put up for sale - The Rugby Observer

Rugby shopping mall put up for sale

Rugby Editorial 1st Apr, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

CLOCK Towers Shopping Centre has been put up for sale.

Owners CBRE Global Investors put the mall on the market with an asking price of just over £27.5million.

The sales brochure cites selling points including the 2009 refurbishment when the centre was linked to the Swan Centre, tenants including Argos and Boots, and a net income of £2.3million a year.

A CBRE spokesperson confirmed the centre was for sale but gave no reason, saying it would not be appropriate to comment further during the sales process.

The brochure also states that planning permission was given just three months ago to expand the centre onto surrounding land.

But previous expansion plans have thus far failed to find the necessary backing from retailers.

In 2013, the centre revealed initial plans for a £20million retail-led expansion – just 11 days before out-of-town rival Elliott’s Field Retail Park’s own expansion plans were approved by Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee.

Clock Towers then attempted to block the rival plan with a judicial review, which failed.

Council chiefs at the time poured scepticism on the centre’s plans, suggesting they were only released to the public to try to scupper the rival development.

Then council leader Craig Humphrey, who has since resigned, told the Observer he doubted whether the Clock Towers had the necessary backing from retailers to get the project off the ground.

He said: “There’s a bit of scepticism about the timing and the motive for bringing those plans forward. As an outward observer looking in, would you not suggest that they’ve only done it to try and scupper a rival scheme?

“The Clock Towers’ agents keep telling us they’ve got people lined up. Well, let’s see who they are, because I don’t think that’s the case.”

The plans were abandoned in October last year due to lack of interest from retailers, and replaced with a similar leisure-led expansion.

Then centre manager Tony Spencer, who has since left the role, said a national cinema chain was ‘champing at the bit’ to anchor the scheme – but its name was never revealed.

But the boss of town centre management company Rugby First said he was confident the centre would be an attractive prospect to potential buyers, due to Rugby’s predicted population growth, relatively low unemployment rate and proposed housing expansion.

Managing director Aftab Gaffar said: “As a business they have obviously decided that the time is right to sell due to the sustained growth clearly evident in Rugby.

“I am sure once the new owners for the shopping centre are secured they will capitalise on the outline planning permission and we should see further investment in the town centre.

“Rugby is continuing to do well in comparison to most town centres with vacancy rates around 6 per cent – well below the national average of 13 per cent.

“New businesses continue to open and show interest in a town centre that is evolving and has some high quality independent stores along with a rich and diverse café culture.”

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