Altrincham Grafton Centre August 2018

Development partner sought for Altrincham’s Grafton Centre

Charlie Schouten

Trafford Council has started the search for a development partner to help deliver an overhaul of the 81,000 sq ft Grafton Centre in Altrincham, a shopping precinct and retail site bought by the council in February this year.

The central shopping precinct, formerly home to shops including Smiths, Greggs, and Music Zone alongside a number of bars, has been closed for around two years and sits at the southern end of George Street, Altrincham’s main retail street.

The 1970s buildings on the site include a 91-bed Travelodge hotel and the shopping centre, with the Travelodge likely to stay 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.

In 2017, the centre was listed with an asking price of £9.25m, although the council’s purchase price has not been disclosed.

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.

Trafford is now looking to appoint a development partner to work up designs for a potential overhaul of the site, and working with its property advisers Amey Consulting, is aiming to have expressions of interest for the site by 26 October this year.

The building’s first floor also had planning permission for 18 residential apartments but this has to date not been implemented. Overall, the Graftons includes around 81,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, and the wider site covers nearly an acre of Altrincham town centre.

The council said it was looking for “visionary but workable ideas to breathe new life into the centre”, and added the site “has the potential to attract further investment into the town while enhancing the retail and leisure offer that already exists”.

Any development on the site, the council said, would “need to compliment recent and proposed developments in the immediate vicinity.” These include the Health & Wellbeing Centre, due to complete in October, and the proposed apartments and multi-storey car park on Regent Road. Both of these projects are being brought forward by developer Citybranch.

Novo Property Group has also submitted a planning application for Weavers Cottages, a £2.3m redevelopment of the former Myersons Solicitors office, also on Regent Road.

Leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Andrew Western added: “We were always clear that acquiring the Grafton Centre was just the start of a process to bring forward an exciting and unique opportunity to reshape a key part of the town centre.

“We are excited to see what ideas come forward and look forward to consulting on these, so we get a scheme we can all enjoy and be proud of.”

Your Comments

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Maybe build a food based market ? I’ve heard that regenerates town centres.

By Developer

Retail is dead. You need craft shops with zero business rates and attractive rents.
Meantime please abandon the ludicrous Altair development (no appetite there for a development partner – doesn’t that tell you something?) and please build more social housing.
Not going to happen though is it…
Clueless Council meantime presides over empty car parks on Oakfield Street having ripped the heart out of Altrincham.
So sad.

By Alastair McFarlane

The demise of altrincham happened years ago. The coming of the metro system was the start. Instead of bringing shoppers to altrincham it simply took them away. Killing of with it one if the best markets in the uk

By Mike t

Officially the best place to live in the North West.

By Haz

Is Manchester sucking the life out of Alti then?
On the same theme as the Metro being disadvantageous, would HS2 have a similar effect on Manchester, business wise?

By Anonymous

@Alastair McFarlane – how has ripped the heart out of alty? last time I checked it was doing well as a town centre and was more popular than ever….RE the car park on oakfield, it was sold to a local business so it could expand and create jobs for people…

By deh'traff

I have invested heavily in Alty – before the market was refurbished. Whilst those investments have improved due to the market the Council seems to think that they have cracked it. They haven’t. It is still massively expensive for tenants with rates and the BID costs. The town centre strategy is focused on conservation area stuff and hard physical improvements all expensive and will do little to help a town centre occupier. The current levels of activity are veneer that hides real fragility but the Council would rather strut about crowing about the Market.

By A Developer

With so many town centres over retailed, its an interesting trend to see Council’s across the piece investing in the sinking ship.

By Curious

Looking forward to seeing the radical redevelopment ideas for the centre. The owners sold it for a reason being thst they could not see a future for it so lets hope the as yet unknown partner is a brilliant visionary otherwise it’s doomed as are the rate payers who will have to carry the proverbial can .

By Tannoy

Why all the negativity. It’s good news for alty and will hopefully bring more big names and good ideas. It’s a good thing so stop trolling.

By TB

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