'Exciting projects' and investment await Weston's Sovereign Centre
PUBLISHED: 12:39 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:39 26 January 2018
Weston-super-Mare's Sovereign Shopping Centre is under new leadership, with 'exciting projects' in the pipeline.
Ellandi has been handed the keys to the centre after the owner chose to move on from previous guardians Vixcroft.
Ellandi, which purports to be the UK’s ‘leading investment manager of community shopping centres’, has been appointed asset manager of the retail complex.
The firm has more than 30 shopping centres in its stable and will oversee the Sovereign Centre on behalf of the owner of the site.
Vixcroft took on the 26-year-old shopping precinct in 2015, with plans to expand the site into the Italian Gardens. It oversaw a £500,000 revamp of the food court in 2016, but all but one of the newly-created units remain empty.
Centre manager Nick Cooke told the Mercury the appointment is ‘very positive’.
An Ellandi spokesman believes the firm has made a ‘good start’ which it hopes to ‘build on over the next few months’.
They said: “Ellandi has been appointed by the owners based on our track record of managing more than 30 similar-sized shopping centres.
“We are working on a number of exciting projects which we hope to be able to share soon.
“Since we were appointed we have renewed leases with Waterstones and The Body Shop, with additional new lettings too.”
Mr Cooke believes the centre will benefit from Ellandi’s ‘experience’, and says the firm is mulling investment in new car parking technology.
He said: “Because of Ellandi’s portfolio, there is already dialogue with new retailers. They can say to stores in its other shopping centres ‘come to our new centre in Weston’, there’s already a lead in.”
Mr Cooke is ‘very confident for 2018’, and hopes to have retailers ‘knocking on the door’ after a typically slow first quarter.
He added: “The main thing we are focusing on is trying to secure lettings for the food court, which has proved difficult. The issue we have is trading times, but we could open the food court in the evening and that is something we are exploring.
“Christmas trading was good. We we’re marginally down on last year but we fared better compared to other places. Some of our shops did really well, including JD Sports which smashed its targets.
“I’m looking forward to the opening of Dolphin Square, and the revamp of the Italian Gardens is very positive.”