The Midlands is leading the UK in shopping centre development, according to research conducted by property consultants Cushman & Wakefield.
Approximately 250,000 square metres of space will be added to the UK market over the next 12-18 months from eight new shopping centres. Three of the retail spots are located in the Midlands and total 83,000 square metres.
The three new retail establishments are the New Square in West Bromwich (43,900 square metres), which is scheduled to open later this year, Hereford Retail Quarter (28,800 square metres) and the Parkgate Shopping Centre in Shirley (19,500 square metres). The latter two centres are currently under construction and are scheduled to open in 2014.
The increase in shopping centre development in 2013 and 2014 is in contrast to the market’s performance over the last year. Last year, the UK had the lowest level of shopping centre development activity since 1962.
In 2012, less than 37,000 square metres was added to the market. The only new centre which opened its doors to welcome shoppers last year was the Swan Centre in Yardley, Birmingham. It has been 54 years since only one new centre opened in the UK in a 12-month period.
Rob Alston, a retail partner at Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham, said recently, “There is a perception that everything is happening around London, but the activity in the Midlands shows that there is life outside the south.”
Along with the eight new shopping centres in development, plans for another 11 existing schemes are being extended. Neal Best, a research analyst in Cushman & Wakefield’s European Research Group, said:
“Cautious demand from occupiers will mean that demand for new space will be largely selective, with interest focused on large, well-configured units in regionally dominant shopping centres.
“Established and well-located regional centres could therefore benefit from refurbishment and extension programs, increasingly polarising the performance between prime and secondary schemes.”
It has also recently been reported that the Midlands is leading the way in speculative warehouse development.
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