Liverpool-based design retailer Utility is to open its first store in Manchester at Bruntwood’s University Green, meaning that tenants for seven of 12 retail and leisure units are committed ahead of this summer’s opening, and two more are under offer.
Utility has three stores in Liverpool, selling gifts, watches, jewellery and home accessories and since its 1999 inception has built up a considerable reputation, picking up several industry awards.
University Green is Bruntwood’s scheme at the gateway site to the University of Manchester’s Oxford Road campus, and forms part of the university’s £1bn campus masterplan. The development sits alongside the 210-bed Crowne Plaza Hotel and 116-room Staybridge Suites, which are both scheduled to open soon.
The 40,000 sq ft of retail and leisure is expected to be completed this summer ahead of the academic year beginning in September.
Already signed for University Green are academic bookshop Blackwell’s, coffee shop Takk, a Loungers café bar, burger brand Five Guys, a Co-op food store and Pret A Manger.
Dick Mawdsley, co-founder and finance and property director at Utility, said: “Opening our first store in Manchester is a natural progression for us and it’s very exciting because previously we have failed to find the right site.
“Oxford Road Corridor is the perfect location for us given the large working and student populations and we will also be co-located with some other great brands at University Green.
“Even though we are a Liverpool-based business we have a lot of customers in Manchester who travel, as well as shop through our website, and our plan now will be to follow up quickly with another store elsewhere in the city.”
Toby Sproll, head of retail and leisure at Bruntwood, said: “Utility is a stellar signing for University Green and we are thrilled that they want to be part of what we are creating here.
“Our aim has always been to create an exciting mix of retail and leisure for the significant population that work, study and live in Oxford Road Corridor and Utility is a great addition to the line-up of brands already signed up.”
Metis Real Estate Advisors acted for Bruntwood, while Utility repreaented itself.