Damned if you do; Damned if you don't. We need our Local Authorities like never before.

Mark Williams (Director of RivingtonHark) gives his view on the importance of Local Authority involvement

The Sunday Times well regarded Retail and Property Correspondent, Sam Chambers has shone the spotlight on Local Authority involvement in buying property. Parliament is also now being asked to investigate.

This  is a complex subject where Local Authorities are short of resource and are under pressure to help rejuvenate their town centres. Judicial use of low cost and long term borrowing has been used by many to help. This work has come under fire though by so called “leading property agents”, who have criticized Local Authorities  without being prepared to put their name to their case. I was  quoted in The Sunday Times robustly defending the professionalism and skill (in my colourful language) of the people who work at Local Authorities. This support is not new

7 years ago I was honoured to Chair the Governments Retail Property Taskforce. I was superbly aided by senior representatives from the BPF; BRC; RICS; IPF; LGA; Real Estate Lending Forum; Association of Property Lenders; Booksellers Association and of course Revo. Additionally people from Javelin; Legal and General; Next; Gloucester LEP; RBS; Aberdeen Standard and GL Hearn. We also commissioned detailed research from Colliers. Finally we had observers (but very helpful) from 3 government departments including the Treasury.

Our report , titled “Beyond Retail”  was submitted to the Government (free email copies happily on request ). It is unique not only because of the Public/ Private partnership formation of the Taskforce,  but also due to the unanimous recommendations made.

Of the total of 20 recommendations made, virtually all have been acted upon (Business Rates still outstanding). Chief among these was the call for more resource to help Local Authorities tackle their town centres, and encouraging them to intervene (invest/ rejuvenate) where the private sector were unable to. That Local Authorities are now doing this should be supported.

True, we never forecast the current global pandemic, or the huge human and economic cost it is causing. Had we that foresight it would have simply strengthen those recommendations 10 fold. Without doubt this is causing short term cash flow issues for all, but Local Authority who have made a 40 year investment decisions are better placed than many to ride this through.

So here’s to supporting our Local Authorities who we are going to need more than ever to help, both in the continued front line work they are doing now, but also in helping us rebuild our local economies when we move out of our lockdown.

Mark Williams

Executive Director

BOOM! The UK’s First Battle Bar is Coming to Castle Quarter

The very latest in exciting entertainment is coming to Castle Quarter this April with the opening of Boom: Battle Bar.

The newest leisure attraction in the heart of Norwich will be an exciting concept in bringing people together to compete in a variety of crazy games in a fun, social way. The owners say that Boom: Battle Bar will be something different from anything that’s ever been done before! Combining nine-hole mini golf, boules, darts, ping-pong, virtual reality, shooting, shuffleboard, pool and even axe throwing with an urban themed bar, Boom Battle Bar spearheads a brand new era in social entertainment venues.

A spokesperson for the new venture said: “We are so excited about coming to Castle Quarter in Norwich with our amazing new concept. This is the first Boom: Battle Bar to be opened in the UK and starts our UK roll out.

“Boom: Battle Bar combines fantastic social activities with games and technology in an awesome bar environment. It will be a great place to meet up and try so many new things. We’re confident it will be the new go-to place for fun seekers in Norwich!”

Robert Bradley, centre manager at Castle Quarter, said: “This is another great addition to the leisure offering at Castle Quarter and will be a great complement to Superbowl UK as well as PureGym, Vue Cinema and all our retailers in the centre.

“Boom: Battle Bar really will be an alternative attraction: we can’t wait to see it open! We are also immensely proud that Castle Quarter will be the location for the very first Boom: Battle Bar.

“This is another step on the journey as Castle Quarter continues evolving into a must-visit destination, which is great news for all our customers, our visitors, for the city and for all our tenants throughout Castle Quarter.

Around 30 local jobs will be created with the opening of the new venue.

The launch date is set for Good Friday, 10th April and the fit out of the 11,500 sq. ft. unit starts this week. Boom: Battle Bar will be located on level 2, next to Superbowl UK.

RivingtonHark Appoints New Director of Asset Management as Business Continues to Expand

As part of its continued expansion RivingtonHark has recruited Mark Harvey to be Director of Asset Management.

Mark joins from Stadium Capital where he ran a mixed-use portfolio of retail, leisure, offices, industrial and residential property.  Previously he spent over 6 years at Legal and General Investment Management where he was Senior Asset Manager on The Managed Property Fund.

Mark’s role is to lead the asset management team and assist in developing the portfolio under management.

Mark Williams comments “We see significant opportunity in the market as assets require repositioning and town centres need major rejuvenation.  This hire is a further boost to our capacity and enables us to grow the portfolio and develop more partnerships with both the public and private sectors.  We are delighted to be bringing someone of the calibre and experience of Mark into the senior team and I am very much looking forward to working with him”.

Mark Harvey comments “I am delighted to be joining the team at this exciting point in the market. The combined asset and development management skills at RivingtonHark and their close relationship with partners provides an excellent platform for expanding the business”.

RivingtonHark assist in purchasing Kennet Shopping Centre and appointed as Asset Managers

RivingtonHark working with partners have completed on the acquisition of the Kennet Shopping Centre in Newbury.

The scheme comprises some 250,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space spread over more than 5 acres. The asset strategically sits between the new Grainger Market Street development by the Station and  town centre. It also houses the main town centre multi story car park with over 400 sapces.

Whilst the asset has suffered though lack of investment, it houses the towns new 7 screen cinema let to Vue along with adjacent restaurants. Other tenants include Costa Coffee, Laura Ashley , Pizza Express and F Hinds.  The asset offers significant scope for rejuvenation working with the occupiers and other Stakeholders to bring this to fruition.

RivingtonHark, have been appointed to use their retail expertise in order to improve the service offering and re-vitalise this prime location in Newbury town centre.

RivingtonHark Director, Mark Williams, said:

“We are delighted to be working with our partners on this project as well as with the wider stakeholders in the town. There is a lot to do, but believe significant improvements can be made.”

CBRE acted for the vendor.

St John's Shopping Centre, Liverpool shortlisted for REVO Ace awards

After a fantastic 2019, RivingtonHark are pleased to announce that St John's Shopping Centre in Liverpool has been shortlisted for the REVO Ace awards

The award recognises and celebrates the very best customer service delivery within the retail property and placemaking community.

The shopping centre has been nominated in two categories: Community and ACE Stars, really highlighting the excellent work being done by the management team. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Since RivingtonHark’s involvement, the centre has been refurbished, repurposed and re-imagined to provide a successful, convenience led shopping destination.

The full shortlist can be found here. 

For more information on our work on St John’s Shopping centre, click here