The council had been looking for a development partner to regenerate the 81,000 sq ft retail complex in Altrincham town centre but has shelved the plans, instead appointing consultancy CBRE to conduct an appraisal on the impact of the pandemic on the scheme.
Developers Novo Property Group and Bruntwood were expected to be appointed to redevelop the site in a 50:50 joint venture with Trafford Council, but the tender, launched last July after the council initially sought a development manager, has now been terminated “due to the economic and social impact of the epidemic”, the council said in a statement.
A statement from Novo Property Group said: “While the decision to terminate the tender process is disappointing, the extent of disruption caused as result of Covid-19 requires a wholesale rethink of the site. We support the council’s decision to review its options before proceeding further.
Ben Fearns, managing director of Novo, which owns another site close to the Grafton Centre, said the company remains keen to be involved with the redevelopment of the site and is “looking forward to working collaboratively with the council”.
Andrew Cooke, director of Manchester at Bruntwood Works, said: “We understand Trafford Council’s decision to reassess its options for the future of the Grafton Centre in Altrincham and are supportive of their decision.
“The Council has made great strides with the wider regeneration of Altrincham town centre and we remain a committed partner as we continue to support the redevelopment of The Stamford Quarter. We share the same values and vision for the local community in Trafford and will continue to support the Council as much as possible.”
Trafford Council bought the shopping centre complex, which includes a 91-bedroom hotel run by troubled operator Travelodge, in 2018, before taking control of another slice of the borough’s retail core when it acquired Stretford Mall in 2019.
Travelodge’s lease on the building runs until 2037.
Cllr James Wright, Trafford Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “The council is looking at best options for the future of the Grafton Centre and is working closely with CBRE to ensure the best results.
“We have ended the procurement process we had started, as it had commenced in a different economic climate to the one we find ourselves in today. Thank you to all the companies who took part in the process.”
Bruntwood has been contacted for comment.