The council is understood to have agreed to buy the 367,000 sq ft shopping centre, allowing it to guide development of a swathe of the town centre, while a deal has also completed at Clarendon House.
Trafford Council has been agreed a deal with Apollo Global Management and M&M Asset Management for the Stamford Quarter, which covers much of the town’s retail core. This agreement means the council can bring forward its own vision for the Stamford Quarter with a potential masterplan now understood to be on the table.
Existing tenants across the Stamford Quarter include Boots, H&M, Greggs, Next, Pure Gym, River Island, Paperchase, WH Smith, Wilko, Waterstones, EE, CEX, and Domino’s Pizza. It also houses a Debenhams but this is set to shut under a programme of store closures announced by the retailer earlier this year.
Lunar, the long-leaseholder of the Stamford Quarter had previously proposed reconfiguring the Rackham’s building into three retail stores on the ground and lower ground floors, totalling 22,700 sq ft, while the first floor was set to be converted to a 17,200 sq ft office, with 62 one and two-bed flats above.
Now that the building is under council control, these plans could be reconsidered.
Further towards the town’s transport interchange, a deal for Clarendon House is also understood to have been completed with a council-linked buyer behind the deal. This will allow Trafford Council to guide the redevelopment of the vacant 33,800 sq ft office building; Lunar had put its leasehold of the building up for sale in December last year, and Place North West revealed the company had selected Fortis as its preferred bidder to redevelop the upper floors under an existing planning consent earlier this year.
However, it is understood the deal with Fortis to redevelop the building is now off the table with Trafford Housing Trust now picked to bring forward an overhaul instead.
Trafford Council already owned the freehold of the building, which also houses retail units on the ground floor. It also was also formerly home to the town’s library, which has relocated to Altrincham Health & Wellbeing Centre.
The deal for the Stamford Quarter essentially brings the remainder of Altrincham’s retail core under Trafford Council’s control: it already owns the successful Altrincham Market, and bought the Grafton Centre at the opposite end of George Street last year.
Both ends of the retail core will be potentially looking to provide a complementary offer to the successful market; a joint venture partner for the Grafton Centre is expected to be chosen in the coming months, with a hotel-led mixed-use scheme the most likely outcome.
Housing a central shopping precinct, a 91-bed Travelodge, and numerous retail units, the Graftons is one of the last major undeveloped plots in the town centre.
There are a number of tenants that have leases in the centre running until the mid-2020s and any development would have to cater to these existing businesses. The building’s first floor also has planning permission for 18 residential apartments but this has to date not been implemented.
A source close to the deal for the Stamford Quarter said: “It’s a really positive move because it brings most of the town’s core under Trafford’s control, and lets the council properly guide the development of the area rather than it simply being used for financial gain”.
Declining to confirm the purchase outright, a statement to Place North West from a Trafford Council spokesperson said: “The Council has an agreed investment strategy and we are always looking for investment opportunities in order to create sustainable revenue streams that can be reinvested in frontline services.”
The council declined to make any further comment on the purchase. Apollo and M&M are advised by Savills, which was also handling the sale of Clarendon House. Barker Proudlove and HRH Retail are joint letting agents for Stamford Quarter.