The investment manager that owns the retail park in Cheetham Hill intends to redevelop the B&Q and Halfords units into a cinema and hotel, and is seeking the public’s views.
A month-long consultation, which ends on 30 November, has launched today, to inform a development framework for the 325,000 sq ft Manchester Fort shopping complex.
The framework has been drawn up by planning consultant Turley and aims to guide the redevelopment of the site in response to the changing retail market, as well as increasing visitor ‘dwell time’.
Under the plans, the 105,000 sq ft B&Q store would be redeveloped into flexible retail space and a cinema, while the proposed hotel would be created on the site of the 7,500 sq ft Halfords store.
The reimagined Manchester Fort, which opened in 2005 and is located on Cheetham Hill Road, would also provide an increased food and beverage offer, adding to the existing F&B tenants including KFC, Nando’s and Greggs.
Nuveen Real Estate also proposes improvements to the public space in and around the shopping park making it more usable and inviting for pedestrians.
Despite challenges highlighted by what Turley describes as a “volatile” retail market, retail is expected to remain the predominant use on the shopping park, with a 20,000 sq ft food store to be added under the plans.
Additionally, the landlord proposes the creation of a series of low-level ‘pods’ in front of the B&Q store, suitable for retail, leisure or restaurants.
Once completed and occupied, Nuveen estimates that the redevelopment will create 260 jobs, more than what is currently provided by B&Q and Halfords.
Both tenants still have a number of years to run on their respective leases.
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “We know how important Manchester Fort is to the communities of north Manchester, providing an attractive one-stop shopping hub for local people.
“However, 15 years is a long time in retail, and we welcome the ambition of the owners to ensure it remains an important resource into the future.”
The retail park is made up of 36 units. The park initially focused on bulky goods, however, over the years, occupiers have shifted to include retailers such as Next, H&M, Boots, M&S Food, and TK Maxx.
Avison Young and Morgan Williams are the agents for Manchester Fort.