Hines eyes more food and drink at Royal Exchange

Hines will look to convert vacant units along Cross Street, including the former Nationwide bank, into food and drink usage after appointing Colliers and Metis as joint agents to fill the remaining retail space at the grade two-listed building in Manchester.

The building, fronting St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, and Cross Street, provides a total of 100,000 sq ft of retail space, and brands already based there include Watches of Switzerland fronting St Anne’s Square, French Connection, and TGI Friday’s.

There are still a number of empty units, including the former Nationwide and Maneas Greek Café on Cross Street, and Hines plans to strip out the empty Nationwide and refurbish it for food and café use. There is also a vacant unit next to TGI Friday’s also earmarked for food and drink use.

The building’s arcade has a number of units still available, and Lloyd Entwistle, retail agency director at Colliers, said Hines would be looking to attract “high-end”, “bespoke” and “independent” retailers to the remaining units.

“We deal with a lot of similar arcade-style properties in London and the idea behind our appointment was potentially to help bring some of those occupiers up to Manchester”, he said.

“There’s not a lot of vacancy in the whole building, and there a couple of units in the arcade to deal with immediately, but other things will come up over time”.

The rents across the building are understood to vary between the units, and Entwistle said Colliers would be looking at the current rents in the coming weeks.

Other retail occupiers in the building include Fjallraven Kanken; Hotel Chocolat; Lush; Molton Brown; and Lanigan & Hulme.

The upper floors of the building are dedicated to office space. Law firm Clyde & Co has 80,000 sq ft, while Manchester City Council’s Coroner’s Court is relocating to the building’s Exchange Floor in the coming months, after moving from the Town Hall.

Before Colliers’ appointment, Metis formerly worked with Lambert Smith Hampton as joint agents on the Royal Exchange’s retail space, while Savills and Canning O’Neill are the retained agents for the office space.

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