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.”