Morrisons Kirkby
The proposed Morrison's superstore is a key part of the project

GMI lines up Kirkby Town Centre redevelopment

Charlie Schouten

St Modwen is understood to have chosen contractor GMI ahead of two other bidders to deliver its retail-led redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre, which is set to feature a Morrison’s supermarket and around 76,000 sq ft of retail space.

The contractor, which is headquartered in Leeds with an office in Manchester, is understood to have beaten Bowmer & Kirkland and Eric Wright Group to the project.

St Modwen first bought the site from Tesco in 2015 for nearly £36m, and demolition of the existing buildings on the site, including the former Asda and Gala Bingo hall, has now completed.

Earlier this month, the developer submitted minor amendments to its plans for the site which it said were “needed to meet the operational requirements” of its main retail anchor, Morrison’s. Enabling works for services are already under way with GMI likely to start in the New Year; in early October, St Modwen’s project director Paul Batho said the scheme was “on schedule”.

Planning permission was secured for the wider development in November last year.

Along with Morrison’s, which will occupy a 45,000 sq ft unit creating around 200 jobs, other anchor tenants include KFC which has taken a 3,500 sq ft unit, and Home Bargains, which will move into a 20,000 sq ft unit.

There are a number of units still available, and the development will also include public realm to link the scheme with the wider town centre. The professional team includes Atkins as civil engineer, Urban Green as landscape architect, Lichfields as planner, Saunders as architect and masterplanner, and Hopkins Coats Associates as M&E consultant; the retained agents are Colliers International and Cheetham & Mortimer.

If it is confirmed as main contractor, the project will be a significant coup for GMI, which has expanded rapidly in the North West since opening a Manchester office earlier this year.

It is currently delivering three projects in central Manchester – Burlington House and the Dakota Deluxe Hotel, both in the Piccadilly Basin; and Excelsior Works for developer Mulbury in Castlefield.

Kirkby Town Centre will be the contractor’s first major project in Merseyside if confirmed.

St Modwen and GMI both declined to comment.

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What a shame it is overly dominated by car parking. What a missed opportunity and, frankly, inefficient use of space. What a shame that society and better options still haven’t evolved to something better.

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