Native Land confirms St Mary’s Wharf Guildford team with appointment of Squire and Partners

Native Land has confirmed its project team for the redevelopment of the former Debenhams department store in Guildford, known as St Mary’s Wharf, appointing architects Squire and Partners to work on options for the 1.4-acre riverside site.

Squire and Partners will be part of a team of leading designers, consultants and advisers, including landscape architects Gillespies and environmental design consultants Atelier Ten.

Alasdair Nicholls, Chief Executive of Native Land, said:

‘Squire and Partners’ reputation for award-winning residential and commercial design, especially in heritage locations, makes them an ideal partner to help us unlock the potential of this important town centre site. We started initial public consultation in March on future development options, including opening up the riverside with new walkways, open spaces, shops, restaurants and homes.’

Native Land exchanged contracts to acquire the c.230,000-sq-ft department store in December 2020, as part of a strategy to identify redevelopment opportunities in fundamentally strong UK towns and cities, to reposition retail assets at a time when urban centres are rethinking the future of high streets.

Henry Squire, Partner at Squire and Partners, said:

“This famous site presents an exciting opportunity to reconnect Guildford’s town centre to the river Wey, by opening up the riverside and creating new public spaces. It will also deliver a high quality residential-led development, which will respond to the materiality and character of the town. We are working closely with the community through this consultation period to design a scheme that is very particular to Guildford and responds to the aspirations of local people.”

In recent years Native Land has broadened its focus beyond its original business model of prime central London residential development, to pursue mixed-use commercial regeneration projects. It has allocated substantial capital for retail and other town centre repositioning opportunities, as a core strategy within its wider mixed-use development business.