The developer has bought the vacant 80,550 sq ft former Marks & Spencer store in the heart of Stockport’s Merseyway with plans now advancing to transform it into offices, leisure, and retail.
After purchasing the building for an undisclosed sum, Glenbrook is now working with architect AEW to overhaul the existing building, with offices planned for the upper floors and retail and leisure on the lower ground and ground.
Glenbrook will now strip out the building ahead of a full redevelopment. The building has been vacant since April 2018 when M&S shut the store as part of its ongoing shop closure programme.
Chris Lloyd, Investment Director at Glenbrook, commented: “The former M&S store represents a significant piece in the Merseyway Shopping Centre jigsaw. The building’s size, configuration and location lends itself to a mixed-use scheme, with the upper floors being best suited for office use, whilst the lower ground floor area will no doubt appeal to a wide range of leisure uses.
“Stockport, which is now receiving significant public and private sector investment, has been on our radar for a while now. We are pleased to bring this scheme into our portfolio.”
The purchase of M&S is the latest intervention at the Merseyway. Stockport Council confirmed its purchase of the former BHS store at the shopping centre in August, including the BHS store itself, now let to Poundland; 18-20 Merseyway, let to Optical Express; and the freehold of 14-16 Merseyway, where the council already has the leasehold.
The same month, Place North West also revealed contractor Graham had been chosen to deliver the first phase of building works to improve the ageing retail precinct.
Also designed by AEW, these include improvements to Adlington Walk featuring a lobby-style entrance, a new stair and lift core, overhauling existing retail units, public realm improvements, and new toilets.
The works are a part wider scheme which will see the Merseyway modernised and overhauled to improve access, including linking to the town’s new transport interchange, due to complete in 2022.
The Merseyway has secured a number of tenants in recent months, including X-Gen VR. The 2,300 sq ft virtual reality gaming centre, set to open in June, includes a VR arcade along with private rooms, where visitors can pay an entry fee for 15, 30, and 60-minute sessions.
The VR gaming centre follows the opening of Tessuti in a 5,000 sq ft unit before Christmas. Other tenants, including Thorntons, EE, WH Smith, and TUi have also committed to lease renewals in the past year.
The council bought the struggling 300,000 sq ft shopping centre out of administration in April 2017.
Cllr David Meller, cabinet member for economy and regeneration at Stockport Council, added: “We’re really supportive of this new development by Glenbrook: it will be a great asset to our town centre and will also complement our recently announced plans to improve Merseyway.
“We continue to attract new investment to the town from high calibre developers such as Glenbrook. This new scheme will strengthen our town centre offer and fit alongside Stockport Exchange, Redrock, the Produce Hall and the number of new, independent businesses setting up home in our town centre.
“This once again demonstrates that it’s change here in Stockport. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished scheme and the new businesses it will attract.”
LSH represented Glenbrook; Savills represented M&S; and Stockport Council was represented by CBRE.