A seasonal boost for Mill Gate Shopping Centre, Bury

Never a place to stand still, Mill Gate, Bury’s popular community Shopping Centre is having a busy festive season and gearing up for an exciting New Year with a host of new and exciting shops.

Mill Gate is the heart of Bury town centre and footfall has been resilient compared to the UK average. Since the start of the pandemic we have been able to welcome over 21 new businesses to the scheme – a mix of national retail, independents, and leisure occupiers. In that same period existing tenants have committed to longer term leases with 38 renewals and regears being completed.

Not only has Mill Gate continually sought to improve its retail offering but we also engaged with the needs of the wider community ensuring that the centre is a destination for all. In addition to the retail lettings secured we were also able to attract non-retail occupiers with new tenants including Bury Football College, Job Centre and Post Office.

Led by asset managers RivingtonHark the fantastic centre team also found innovative and creative ways to activate vacant space and engage with the community. Mill Gate was the first UK shopping Centre to provide TikTok turf, an exclusive space for TikTokkers and content editors to visit and make original viral video content. The aim was to bring the online trend to an offline experience in a physical place. It has proved to be a great success and brought a really popular activity in the centre.

Mark Harvey, Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark said: “We have welcomed many exciting new tenants throughout the year and brought some great innovation to the centre to ensure it is relevant and aligned to the needs of the community. There is a really positive feeling around the scheme and I am looking forward to building on this in 2022.”

Lighting tests continue at the Swansea Arena

Swansea Arena has been sparkling in recent days as early lighting tests continue at the venue

Over 1,600 gold-coloured panels have now been installed around the outside of the development, complete with 95,000 LED lights.

Many thousands of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will have noticed the most recent tests, with thousands of sparkling white lights giving the arena a festive look in the early evenings in the build-up to Christmas.

Further preparatory tests will take place in coming weeks and months.

The tests will help determine what works best on the arena’s façade to better understand how it can be used in future.

The arena is one feature of the £135m Copr Bay phase one district being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

Construction of Copr Bay phase one – led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – will be complete later this year, with the arena, to be run by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), opening its doors in early 2022.

As well as Swansea Arena, Copr Bay phase one also includes a 1.1-acre coastal park, the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, new apartments, new car parking and new spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses.

The arena feature of the development is being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal, with the bridge being part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The festive sparkling lights many people have seen around the outside of Swansea Arena in the early evenings are a sign of things to come as this iconic new Swansea landmark starts to take even more shape ahead of its completion.

“Further lighting tests will follow in coming weeks, with the arena’s programme of stars for 2022 also making more and more progress.

“But as well as world class entertainment, the arena and the whole of the Copr Bay district is worth so much more. It’ll generate hundreds of jobs for local people, create more footfall and spending in our city centre, and give Swansea’s economy a £17.1m a year boost.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “The lights outside the arena in our emerging Copr Bay district complement everything else we’re doing in Swansea to create a festive atmosphere for residents, businesses and visitors to the city.

“This includes the return of Waterfront Winterland – run by Sayers – at the nearby Museum Park and the arrival of the Christmas Market in the city centre.

“Thousands of colour-changing Christmas lights are also now in place in other parts of the city centre, along with two Christmas trees and the return of the panto at the Grand Theatre from December 10 to January 2.”

St Johns Liverpool wins 3 Green Apple awards!

St Johns on a winning streak with 3 Green Apples Awards!

RivingtonHark are delighted to announce that St Johns, Liverpool has been awarded 3 prestigious Green Apples recognising the team’s commitment to the environment with national accolades presented for our waste operation, team well being and progressive approach to biodiversity.

Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to develop exciting initiatives that do good and deliver real results for both people and planet.

In 2020, we installed our living green wall on the exterior of the centre, which has increased green space in the city, improved air quality and provided a habitat for over 15 species of plant – and at 65 metres in length, it’s one of the longest walls of its kind in the country!

In 2021, we continued this journey with the installation of our rooftop beehives. These hives have become home to over 40,000 bees which now pollinate flowers, plants and trees within a three-mile radius of the centre. The success of these exciting projects also led to us being shortlisted for a national award for green business initiatives.

These are just some of the ways we’ve been ensuring we have a positive impact on the world around us, working in collaboration with organisations across the Liverpool City Region and we are proud these have received national recognition through the Green Apple awards.

We’ll be continuing to develop exciting, new ways of creating more sustainable centres across our portfolio, to benefit our customers and the wider communities we serve. Embedding sustainable practices across our centres and our business is a priority for RivingtonHark.

For more sustainable achievements please see our ESG page here: https://rivingtonhark.com/esg/

Mill Gate Shopping Centre Bury scoops up a SCEPTRE Award!

Kirsty Williams from Mill Gate Shopping Centre, Bury won the SCEPTRE Award for Centre Manager of the Year - Medium Centre!

The SCEPTRE Awards recognise the best practice and the best people in the shopping centre industry. They are the pre-eminent accolades in the shopping centre industry, putting the spotlight on management teams, retailers and suppliers that demonstrate real excellence.

Kirsty’s award recognises best practice by a manager employed in a retail destination, retail park, leisure park or outlet mall of between 200,001 to 450,000 sq ft in size.

Other assets in RivingtonHark’s portfolio also received recognition with St Johns, Liverpool receiving another 4 SCEPTRE nominations this year and taking home two highly commended awards including for our work on sustainability. A fantastic achievement that showcases excellence across our full operation.

AnaCap and RivingtonHark partner to acquire St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool

An exciting partnership begins between AnaCap and RivingtonHark

AnaCap Financial Partners (“AnaCap”), a leading specialist mid-market investor and RivingtonHark, a UK retail asset manager focused on ensuring the future sustainability of towns and cities, announce a joint venture to acquire St John’s Shopping Centre (“St John’s”), a 540,000 sq. ft prime property in central Liverpool.

St John’s is located in the heart of Liverpool, between Liverpool’s two main train stations and the main bus station where significant public sector infrastructure works are being completed. The centre is currently 97% occupied with over 100 tenants, and the scheme is also the home of the St John’s Beacon, one of the UK’s most well-known and iconic buildings.

St John’s has benefited from significant renovation and refurbishment investment over the past decade, and AnaCap and RivingtonHark are looking to continue investing to meet the ongoing demands of a leading citycentre shopping centre.

The investment in St John’s sits within AnaCap’s opportunistic real estate strategy where it is capitalising on its extensive network to identify attractive, well located properties across Europe. It also epitomises AnaCap’s approach of leveraging dedicated, in-house specialist investment and asset management expertise to work alongside best-in-class operating partners targeted for each investment.

Sebastien Wigdo, Managing Director at AnaCap, commented: “This acquisition represents an exciting opportunity for AnaCap to invest in a prime and stabilised retail asset in the UK, demonstrating our ability to identify value in a sector which may have been previously overlooked. We were particularly attracted to the asset given its high quality location and strong tenant mix of both local and national retailers, a large number of whom have shown a long-term commitment to the location during Covid.

Mark Williams, Executive Director at RivingtonHark, added: “We are glad to partner with AnaCap and are looking forward to engage with our tenants, the Liverpool City Council and the wider community to continue to invest in the asset and create long term value for all stakeholders.”

The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea

Swansea Regeneration - creating a post-pandemic city centre

The regeneration of Swansea city centre is one of the largest urban transformations currently being delivered in the UK

Recent coverage of Swansea regeneration featured in Retail Destination, for the full article please see link below.

Over £1 billion is being invested across the city, with a view to raise the profile of the Welsh city to become one of the most vibrant places to live, work, visit and study in the UK.

With the pandemic having emphasised the importance of mixed-use high streets, including the increased need for leisure and public spaces for the entire community to enjoy, the first phase of Swansea’s Copr Bay project, driven by the Council’s vision, aims to show the way forward for town and city centres across the UK in a post-pandemic world.

The leisure-led, £135 million Copr Bay phase one is the first stage of the reimagining of the city, centred around a new arena run by a world leading operator of live entertainment venues. Cllr Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, says that Copr Bay has been a major catalyst for change since the works began.

“The leisure and F&B-led scheme is anchored around a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, operated by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG),” tells Stewart. “It includes a striking new pedestrian and cyclist bridge that better connects the city to its sweeping coastline; a landscaped coastal part with a 1,500 sq ft café and pizzeria; and over 8,000 sq ft of other F&B space encompassing a range of independent cafés, restaurants and shops.”

The ‘game-changing’ Swansea Arena is expected to host 160 performances across music, comedy, theatre, esports and conference events for an estimated 230,000 visitors each year.

The space has been designed so that it can host a broad range of live performance and entertainment, bringing new audiences to the city whilst providing local people with global entertainment on their doorstep. And around 60 of the events will be exhibitions, conferences, graduations, and other business-led events.

Phase one is scheduled to open later this autumn, and is creating around 1,260 construction jobs, with hundreds more long-term jobs will come when it’s operational and which Stewart says will add tens of millions of pounds to the local economy every year.

Eat out to help out

In a recent step towards its community-focused ambitions, Swansea Council announced that local family-owned restaurant group The Secret Hospitality Group will run a day-to-night service at the 1,400 sq ft restaurant and café. The venue has dubbed itself as an environmentally friendly and architecturally eye-catching venue where residents and visitors will enjoy a relaxed café by day and a buzzing pizzeria by night.

The Secret Hospitality Group’s newest restaurant is due to open towards the end of the year and has full capacity for 60 covers plus outside seating. The family-run and locally-based restaurant group is owned and run by Ryan and Lucy Hole, who also own The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and The Optimist Bar & Kitchen, both in Swansea. The newest restaurant in the group will join the others by having its produce supplied by local businesses, further supporting the Swansea economy.

Sustainability is at the heart of the restaurant, which has been designed by Pinelog, a member of the Green Register, to feature materials from sustainable sources and local provenance. The restaurant’s design is focused on renewable energy to lower carbon emissions and uses solar panels to contribute to the power requirements, to minimise its environmental footprint.

Owner Ryan Hole says that whilst it might seem an odd decision to commit to a new restaurant during the pandemic, they did not think twice when this opportunity came knocking. “Swansea Council’s £1 billion transformation of the city is a vote of confidence in the future of the area and will offer opportunities to people like us and businesses like ours,” he explains.

“Our latest restaurant will be a new landmark for Swansea, part of a brand new destination for residents and visitors to enjoy great food and drink, and just a stone’s throw away from the Arena and our stunning coastline. We’re thrilled to be a part of the transformation of our city and to play a part in it.”

Sustainable future

The regeneration was announced back in 2019, but rather than causing a complete rethink of what a post-pandemic city centre should be, it vindicated the vision for the city the council had already been planning, which Stewart says has become more significant than ever.

“Our vision for the regeneration, and Copr Bay phase one in particular, has been one that is leisure-led, sustainability-focused, and local-first,” says Stewart. “Each part of this is so important in creating vibrant city centres, places where people want to live, study, work, shop and visit in a post-pandemic world and is vital if we want to build back better and create investment in our communities.”

Copr Bay phase one, which is being delivered by the Council working alongside development manager RivingtonHark, the town and city centre regeneration specialists, has community at its heart. It has previously announced that the 33 new homes being built as part of the scheme, in an enviable location near the arena and the coastal park, will be run by Wales’ largest social housing provider, Pobl Group.

Future phases will be driven by Swansea Council, with Copr Bay phase two and further regeneration projects across the city, set to kick off in the near future. Stewart says that Copr Bay phase one has focused on creating a new leisure district for the city, helping better connect the city to the sea and building new affordable homes. The next phase in the wider regeneration will look at further F&B, retail, housing and workspaces.

“We want to show that there’s a bright post-pandemic future for high streets across the UK – and that Swansea will emerge as a wonderful, modern, attractive, 21st century destination,” Stewart adds.

“The council-led regeneration of Swansea is about much more than the bricks and mortar; it’s about jobs, opportunities and securing a positive future. It’s about creating a unique and memorable place to live, work and enjoy – to the benefit of the people and businesses of our city and those who plan to visit us or make Swansea their home.”

Link to article: Swansea Regeneration – Retail Destination

From Shopping Bags to Swimming Trunks - the changing face of the Shopping Centre

Puddle Ducks, leading baby and child swimming school, opens a state-of-the-art swimming pool in Barons Quay

Barons Quay opened five years ago and since then the retail sector has been through a time of unprecedented change. Since completion, RivingtonHark on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council have been working to evolve the leasing strategy in response to the dramatic shift in the retail landscape, to create a compelling shopping and leisure destination.

With large units designed for multi-site retailers that had stopped expanding, we had to get creative with the scheme’s usage. We brought in Sticky Paws, a 9,000 sq ft restaurant and adventure play concept from the owners of the nationally acclaimed Cheshire Ice Cream Farm tourist attraction. The first of its kind, offering fuss-free dining experience for parents and a lot of fun for kids. With no need to leave the table, guests can order at their convenience with the tap of a finger from a Digi iPad menu, allowing the kids to play or eat as and when they please.

Other leisure occupiers joined the scheme including Radio Northwich, the town’s own radio station, Geek Retreat, and Bear Coffee, giving Barons Quay a true mixed leisure offering.

This month saw the opening of Puddle Ducks, a 3,500 sq ft swimming pool, and the first ever to be built in a retail unit. This state of the art facility will serve as the brand’s flagship location for swimming lessons and teacher training. The unit also includes office space to house the mid Cheshire Puddle Ducks staff. Kitted out with high-spec and child-friendly facilities, the pool will allow families to enjoy learning to swim in an inclusive and accessible environment.

Although the landscape has changed significantly in the past five years, the consumer’s appetite for experiences has only grown. By adapting, evolving and supporting operators to take chances on new ideas, combined with more traditional retail & leisure operators like H&M, River Island, ASDA and Odeon we have made Barons Quay a great place to shop and spend time.

Redical enters the UK retail market with the acquisition of Clayton Square Shopping Centre in Liverpool

RivingtonHark are retained strategic advisors to support Redical Holdings on their expansion into the UK retail market

Stephenson Harwood and Time Retail acted for Redical on the purchase, whilst Maples Teesdale and KLM advised the vendor on the sale. Redical has appointed RivingtonHark as an asset advisor and Reset Asset Management as an asset manager for Clayton Square.

Clayton Square is a 170,000 sq ft shopping centre in the centre of Liverpool. The asset comprises 24 units let to a range of occupiers including Boots, McDonalds, Tesco, EE and B&M. Purchase price was at or around the original £21 million asking price.

Redical acquired the asset on an unleveraged basis with the backing from its founders and institutional co-investors. Redical has announced its intention to acquire further assets in this space, with a view to build a portfolio of “fit for purpose” UK shopping centres on a buy-and-hold basis.

Mark Williams, Executive Director of Rivington Hark, commented: “We are excited to see Redical entering the UK retail sector with long-term capital and fresh ideas, and we look forward to working together with the Redical team to further revitalise and future-proof selected retail assets.”

Clayton Square

Climbing to new heights in Southend!

Indirock to open new bouldering wall in Victoria Shopping Centre

RivingtonHark are delighted to announce that a deal has been signed to bring bouldering wall business Indirock to The Victoria Centre in Southend.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council purchased The Victoria Centre in December 2020 as part of their town centre regeneration strategy. This letting to Indirock reflects the ambition of delivering activities within the centre that broaden the customer appeal and strengthen footfall.

The bouldering wall – which will be housed in a 7,500 square foot former retail unit on the first floor – represents an exciting shift in the use of retail space within the centre and promises to bring new footfall into the town. The aim for Indirock is very much to offer an enjoyable yet challenging climbing experience for all levels of ability and will help develop confidence and fitness in a friendly and supportive environment.

The letting not only helps activate an empty space within a key entrance to the shopping centre but also fits in with the councils wider health and wellbeing strategy and promotes local businesses throughout the community. Local baker Hugo’s Pantry will be running the coffee shop inside Indirock which will serve a range of sweet and savoury bites alongside barista coffee and other drinks.

Mark Harvey, Executive Director and Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark says: “This letting is an important first step in our journey to revitalise the centre and, in particular, our aim of bringing in more leisure and community based facilities. It has been great to deal with the Co-founders of the business who are passionate about the project and the positive impact this initiative will bring to the local community. We share their vision and think that Indirock is the perfect catalyst for our wider plans for the asset and we cannot wait to see them open their doors later in the year.”


To take a virtual tour of what is planned for the unit please follow this link 360 Tour – Indirock (cloudpano.com)

The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea

Swansea regeneration puts the creation of opportunities for local businesses and residents front-and-centre

Swansea Council has signed the Secret Hospitality Group to operate the landmark restaurant at the city's £135m Copr Bay development

The leisure-led Copr Bay phase one development is the first stage of the regeneration of the city. The 1,400 sq ft pizzeria and café is set to open towards the end of the year with around 60 covers plus outside seating. The Secret Hospitality Group is owned and run by Ryan and Lucy Hole, who also own the Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and the Optimist Bar & Kitchen, both in Swansea.

Ryan Hole said: “While it might seem an odd decision to commit to a new restaurant during the pandemic, we did not think twice when this opportunity came knocking. Swansea Council’s £1b transformation of the city is a vote of confidence in the future of the area and will offer opportunities to people like us and businesses like ours. Our latest restaurant will be a new landmark for Swansea, part of a brand new destination for residents and visitors to enjoy great food and drink, and just a stone’s throw away from the Arena and our stunning coastline. We’re thrilled to be a part of the transformation of our city and to play a part in it.”

The restaurant has been designed by Pinelog using materials from sustainable sources and local provenance, as well as focusing on renewable energy to lower carbon emissions such as solar panels. Copr Bay phase one is being delivered by the council working alongside development manager RivingtonHark.

Spencer Winter, projects director of RivingtonHark, added: “The pandemic has shaken up our society and we now have the opportunity to decide in which order we put the pieces back together. Even before Covid, town and city centres across the UK were changing; post-pandemic, they have to. Swansea is a pioneering example of what an ambitious local authority can do when it has a vision for improving its city for its community and for those who may consider making it their home.

“Copr Bay Phase One, with its focus on the things that bring us moments of relaxation like the park to those that bring us unforgettable experiences like the arena, will show that our high streets can be reimagined and that the pieces will fit, for the benefit of everyone.”

The Pavilion at Copr Bay Swansea