Council looks for ‘visionary’ plans for Altrincham’s Grafton Centre

Developers have until the end of today to submit expressions of interest to Trafford Council for the overhaul of Altrincham’s Grafton Centre, with a number of high-profile companies understood to have put themselves forward.

Trafford Council first started the search for its development partner for the 81,000 sq ft site in August this year, calling for “visionary but workable ideas to breathe new life into the centre”.

Patrick Properties, the Altrincham-based developer headed up by Paul Martin and Jordan Kennedy, son of Sale Sharks ex-owner Brian Kennedy, are the latest company to submit a bid for the project.

The developer’s mixed-use proposals include several new areas of public realm, office space, residential units, and a tech hub. Under the early-stage plans, Patrick Properties is proposing to demolish the existing Graftons indoor precinct to link Stamford New Road through to the main shopping area on George Street.

Martin said Patrick Properties’ proposals were “a fantastic opportunity to help revitalise one of the most significant pieces of real estate in Altrincham”.

“The leaders of the Council have done a wonderful job and we aim to build on the vision they have shown by inviting developer expressions of interest,” he added.

It is understood a number of developers have already expressed an interest, including Capital & Centric and Bruntwood, as well as Altrincham-based developers Novo and Landmark.

The council is the owner of the site having purchased it in February this year; the centre was listed with an asking price of £9.25m

The 1970s buildings include a 91-bed Travelodge hotel and the shopping centre, with the Travelodge staying put as redevelopment comes forward. The hotel’s lease does not expire until 2037, having been signed in 2012, and a rent review is due in 2022.

Among the council’s suggestions for the centre are creating additional parking at the Grafton Centre; a new link to the town’s transport interchange; space for start-ups; adding “niche” retail occupiers; and improving pedestrian flow and connectivity.

The council said the income-generating aspects of the site was one of the reasons behind its purchase, but added it was “crucial” in continuing the ongoing regeneration of the town centre. There are a number of tenants that have leases in the centre running until the mid-2020s and any development would have to cater to these existing businesses.

The building’s first floor also has planning permission for 18 residential apartments but this has to date not been implemented.

Following the expressions of interest, the council will carry out and review and hold a public consultation in December.  A development brief will be agreed in January, while an invitation to tender will be issued in February, with tenders returned by the end of April next year.

Altrincham Grafton Centre August 2018

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It seems to me that there is an opportunity being missed for joined up thinking. Regeneration on both sides of Regent Road could really boost this side of the town with a high quality mixed use scheme…

By CWEdeveloper

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