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Discussion Starter #1
With Clayton Square under new ownership, and it looking like some much need improvments will be carried out on the centre, I thought it would be good useful for the centre to have its own thread.

As a bit of background, as originally posted by Nomis90, here is what InfraRed, the new owners of both Clayton Square and St. John's had to say recently about the two centres -

InfraRed plans facelifts for Liverpool shopping centres

Chris Huxtable, director at InfraRed Capital Partners, sees plenty in Liverpool’s retail market to be optimistic about.

In his own words, his belief is reflected in the fund manager’s acquisitions of two shopping centres in the city — St Johns Shopping Centre and Clayton Square — within 13 months of each other.

St Johns, a 340,000 sq ft scheme, was bought in March last year for £76.5m and the 170,000 sq ft Clayton Square for £14m in April.

Both were bought from Land Securities and fit InfraRed’s strategy of acquiring secondary and smaller shopping centres in areas with strong retail markets, but each offers a different proposition. St Johns is home to value retailers such as Poundland, Argos, Brighthouse and New Look and enjoys occupational rates of between 95% and 98%. But it has been left largely untouched for 20 years.

Clayton Square, on the other hand, has mid-range retailers such as Costa, EE and Vision Express, but has lower occupancy rates of 80% on the first floor and 93% on the ground floor.

Huxtable says: “We see St Johns and Clayton Square as very different schemes. St Johns is fit for purpose and has a loyal catchment and shopper, but needs bringing up to date.

“Clayton we regard as a failing scheme.”

With occupational rates already high at St Johns, Huxtable plans to bring the centre up to date with refurbishments on a staggered basis. InfraRed has just started on the £2m expansion and renovation of the centre’s food court.

There are also plans for a £1m rejuvenation of the Houghton Street entrance later this year and further plans to update other entrances at the site.

KFC, Subway and McDonald’s have renewed their leases at the centre, and within the last couple of weeks Chinese restaurant Chopsticks signed a 10-year lease at the food court.

InfraRed will spend £3m this year, and there are plans to spend a similar amount next year. Overall it has budgeted to spend between £11.5m and £15.3m on renovations.

For Clayton Square, InfraRed plans a significant redevelopment to increase its value. Huxtable would not be drawn on specifics, but he says InfraRed plans to spend between £7m and £14m to redevelop the centre to meet requirements of future occupiers.

Construction work on redeveloping the centre is earmarked to take place next year.

Huxtable adds: “We’re very positive about the Liverpool retailing market. It’s a vibrant city, and it has a local authority determined to take it forward and build on the successes the city has had.”
This has also appeared on the Planning Explorer, which seems like it will be the first stage in the improvements -

Application Number - 13F/1936
Site Address - Clayton Square Shopping Centre Liverpool L1 1QR
Proposal - To close internal pedestrian mall to church street at ground floor level and first floor level to create flexible class A1 and A3 retail floor space including additional mezzanine floor space for flexible A1 and A3 use on first floor, In filling of church street entrance with new level entrance
Applicant - InfraRed Uk Retail Nominee 5 Ltd
From here - http://northgate.liverpool.gov.uk/PlanningExplorer17/Generic/StdDetails.aspx?PT=Planning Applications On-Line&TYPE=PL/PlanningPK.xml&PARAM0=869155&XSLT=/PlanningExplorer17/SiteFiles/Skins/Liverpool_WIP/xslt/PL/PLDetails.xslt&FT=Planning Application Details&PUBLIC=Y&XMLSIDE=&DAURI=PLANNING

I wonder if this would be combined with the former Disney Store unit, which since Disney moved to Liverpool ONE has seemingly proved to be hard to let to a long-term tenant?
 

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With Clayton Square under new ownership, and it looking like some much need improvments will be carried out on the centre, I thought it would be good useful for the centre to have its own thread.

As a bit of background, as originally posted by Nomis90, here is what InfraRed, the new owners of both Clayton Square and St. John's had to say recently about the two centres -



This has also appeared on the Planning Explorer, which seems like it will be the first stage in the improvements -



From here - http://northgate.liverpool.gov.uk/PlanningExplorer17/Generic/StdDetails.aspx?PT=Planning Applications On-Line&TYPE=PL/PlanningPK.xml&PARAM0=869155&XSLT=/PlanningExplorer17/SiteFiles/Skins/Liverpool_WIP/xslt/PL/PLDetails.xslt&FT=Planning Application Details&PUBLIC=Y&XMLSIDE=&DAURI=PLANNING

I wonder if this would be combined with the former Disney Store unit, which since Disney moved to Liverpool ONE has seemingly proved to be hard to let to a long-term tenant?
So they want to make the mall even more enclosed and harder to access from outside?! They made a big mistake when they closed off the external entrance to the upper floor to create the George store (now Discount UK). Hardly anyone bothers going upstairs now.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
^^

My thoughts exactly. The only way I could possibly see this working, is if they combined the entrance area, Disney Store unit, and took a large chunk off the end of that mall (as well as the units fronting onto the cut-off section), to create one giant unit, making space for a high-profile anchor tenant, which would attract people off Church Street/Ranelagh Street, and onwards into the centre.

It'll be interesting to see what else they have planned. I think I speak for everyone when I say the escalators need moving - anywhere will do, just not dead centre. They are also clearly going to have to put some thought into what the problem is with some of the units. Take the BHS Christmas unit for instance. It's a large unit (it goes back a long way), and is on the main pedestrian route between Clayton Square itself and Central Station, with all the footfall that brings, yet Land Securities couldn't seem to find a tenant, so there must be some problem that needs resolving.

Interesting times ahead.
 

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If Tesco are looking for a new store in the centre to replace the current one, (as stated in the St Johns thread) would the Clayton square centre, or one floor of it not be suitable. The current Tesco store could be separated into units for the likes of boots etc, with a few individual units within Clayton Square being maintained for smaller retailers. That way Clayton square would get the footfall and the smaller units would benefit from that.

To me it is a non entity centre as it currently stands. It doesn't seem to fit in or have a niche like St Johns.
 

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They would make it a lot more attractive to customers by restoring the internal layout back to how it was when it was built:

 

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Discussion Starter #6
I suppose the biggest problem is that in order to fix some of the centre's problems, you'd have to sacrifice some retail space, thereby affecting the centre's income. For example, to move the escalators out of the central area, say to where the stairs are in that photo above, you'd have to take a chunk out of the cafe on the floor above, as well as blocking the entrance to the retail unit that has been created where those steps are in the above photo. On the other hand, there is the argument that making changes, even with a loss of some space, would make the centre more appealing to retailers, resulting in more income, as empty units don't provide an income after all.

Another thought is that perhaps the creation of additional retail space at the end of the Church Street mall could be to off-set the loss of retail space elsewhere in the centre, when further changes are made. Hopefully that is the case and they are not just trying to squeeze even more retail space into a centre that is already suffering from attempts to squeeze too much into it.
 

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The first thing Clayton Square needs is opening up and removing the floor that was added currently occupied by Claus Ohlsen. They need to be accommodated elsewhere within the mall, surely with the amount of empty units this is possible?

This mall is actually quite attractive and nobody goes upstairs to view the glass dome anymore because there's nothing up there, moving the escalators and reopening the view would allow natural light in downstairs. This would then attract people upstairs.

The irony is that by trying to cram too much in in the 90's, the mall took a nosedive and went downmarket and as such is unappealing to new retailers. So you end up with a mall that sold its soul for a swift buck being the beggar with a plastic cup.
 

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Would urge everyone to look at the detailed plans for Clayton Square on the planning explorer. Think there will be a lot of happy people. Basically Infra Red UK want to take the mall back to its original design to create a triple height space. Also looks as if the main escalators will be removed! Hats off to Infra Red UK on this one and work going on St John's Centre!
 

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Certainly looks like an improvement. I hoped they'd open it up even more, but the reintroduction of the triple height will really let light in and make for a much nicer shopping environment.

The anchoring of the centre with a bigger unit on Church St makes sense too. It's a prime location which, with a decent sized unit, would be perfect for many retailers.
 

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I really like the look of the new unit on Church St, would be ideal for a mini department store. Step in the right direction for Clayton Square!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Some interesting bits and pieces pulled from the related documents -


Copyright to the copyright holder. Shown here for informational purposes only.


Copyright to the copyright holder. Shown here for informational purposes only.


Copyright to the copyright holder. Shown here for informational purposes only.


Copyright to the copyright holder. Shown here for informational purposes only.


Copyright to the copyright holder. Shown here for informational purposes only.

There's plenty more information in the related documents which can be found here - http://northgate.liverpool.gov.uk/DocumentExplorer/Application/folderview.aspx?type=MVMPRD_DC_PLANAPP&key=869155

The works are much more significant than I imagined they would be. The entire Church Street mall disappears, as does the upstairs mall, with the space there only accessible from inside the ground floor retail units, as required by the tenants. With a number of larger retail units becoming available, the removal of the escalators, and a general tarting up, I can see the centre becoming a much more attractive proposition to potential tenants.
 

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The brick work is fine. It's period, that's all, and a fairly good quality example of it as well. In a few years whatever contemporary and inferior replacement is glued on will look far worse and we'll miss the bricks.

Think of the bogus Victorian ironwork added to St John's in 1989 and now being removed. We'll never love the precinct but by now, if left, its 1960s brute concrete and modernism would have some interest if maintained well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Does this mean Boots will be getting a bit of extra space?
It looks like that yes. As you can see on the image below, Boots, as well as Clas Ohlson and The Body Shop all have their entrances (shown in blue) fronting into the 'bulge' around the current bank of escalators. However as this 'bulge' will converted into retail space, in order to maintain access to the stores, I would imagine they will simply acquire a small triangle of extra space (shown in orange), and each get a new straightened entrance (shown in green).



I suppose it's possible they could each make a new entrance in their existing straight frontages within the centre. The fourth corner, currently the vacant BHS Christmas Shop unit, has two entrances, one diagonal like the others, and one straight, so it can be done. However this would leave the new units in between the four corners with odd flared edges at the front, not to mention the cost to Boots, Clas Ohlson, and The Body Shop of having to re-organise their internal layout in order to fit a new entrance within their existing straight frontage, so I'd imagine the above solution, with each unit gaining a small triangle of space, will be the one they go with.
 

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The only way I could possibly see this working, is if they combined the entrance area, Disney Store unit, and took a large chunk off the end of that mall (as well as the units fronting onto the cut-off section), to create one giant unit, making space for a high-profile anchor tenant, which would attract people off Church Street/Ranelagh Street, and onwards into the centre.
The documents now show that this isn't going to happen because there won't be any access in to the centre from the new unit on Church Street.
 

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I can't work out what's happening with the first floor above those units shown i the image. Is that basically dead space, or are they going to be mezzanine floors for each unit? Although I like the idea of a triple height atrium, it seems strange to block off the sides if they aren't going to use them for something. They might as well open up the sides too, above the units.
 

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Ah, I think I see it now. Blimey, they are infilling to make 1st floors for each unit. They'll be much bigger units, which should appeal to major providers, but might edge out the smaller ones. Looks like a deliberate strategy though. The smaller units have really struggled.
 
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