We all expect so much more now, not only from a retail or food and drink perspective, but also from a sustainability point of view. Consumers don’t just aspire to great things, they expect them, writes Andrea George of Bruntwood.
Bruntwood retail has always been entrepreneurial, with an innovative and relationship-driven approach – supporting all kinds of businesses to create non-traditional retail and leisure concepts that people really want to engage with. We like to think about the big picture and not short term wins.
We know that creating incubation opportunities for small businesses and finding bespoke locations that are a perfect fit for brands, big or small, (from global companies to people trading on a market stall at the weekend) is what creates successful retail environments. And more importantly – thriving cities.
For instance, Afflecks, our independent shopping emporium, is a Manchester institution. We took on the lease 10 years ago as landlords and it’s now fully owned and managed by Bruntwood. We provide a chance for small independent businesses and creative enterprises to have a retail presence in the city centre – low rents and short leases means it’s an accessible entry point for anyone with a concept or product. The result is one of the country’s best loved and most extraordinary shopping experiences. It’s not something that can be replicated online or anywhere else. It isn’t a predictable approach to retail, and that’s why it works.
Another example is Hatch, which is part of our Circle Square neighbourhood. We’ve built a pop-up retail and leisure destination by collaborating with some of the most exciting, independent food, drink and retail brands around. By creating opportunities for a diverse range of businesses we’ve ended up with a concept that is constantly fresh, evolving and thriving, and which is a great trailblazer for Circle Square. Set in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district on Oxford Road, Circle Square is our new city neighbourhood and will include 100,000 sq ft of retail, as well as 250,000 sq ft of beautifully designed public realm.
The mix of food, drink and retail brands that we introduce to Circle Square is absolutely central to our vision for this transformative development that will combine living, working, social and green spaces.
Consumers, especially the younger demographic, are also strongly motivated by sustainability now, which is one of our biggest passions at Bruntwood.
We’re championing innovations that will make Circle Square a sustainable and eco-friendly destination when it opens in 2020. We’re looking for exceptional retailers with a shared vision to join us in creating the city’s most extraordinary new neighbourhood – by thinking differently, leading the pack, and embracing a challenging but exciting time.