New era beckons for city shopping centre

Hundreds of thousands of pounds could be invested in giving a Lincoln shopping centre a completely new identity, a Lincoln-based chartered surveyor has announced.

Property specialist Banks Long & Co revealed it has acquired The Mall in the city’s upper High Street for county developer M F Strawson Ltd – after an unmissable opportunity cropped-up at a London auction.

Now, provided city planners agree, The Mall is poised to undergo a major transformation.  M F Strawson Ltd has ambitions to remodel the dated retail complex – which is home to a handful of small enterprises – and replace it with an
exciting new restaurant or entertainment venue.

Banks Long & Co Managing Director Tim Bradford said: “My client believes the timing is right.  2015 promises to be a milestone year for Lincoln. Thousands of extra visitors are expected to flock to Lincoln Castle, which has been enhanced by a £22 million investment.

“This year also sees the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and there are the unveiling of the Lincoln Tank and Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorials to look forward to.”

Only about half of the shop units within The Mall are currently occupied, but Mr Bradford said he had visited all the tenants and told them about the change of ownership and M F Strawson’s future plans.

“We spotted this opportunity and bought the centre because we realised there was great potential to redevelop it, either as a retail or food and drink venue.

“We feel that it no longer works efficiently in its current format, and naturally we have now met with the tenants and explained the situation. We will do all we can to identify alternative accommodation for the existing businesses.

“We want to transform The Mall and create a quality food and drink  venue, which complements the other businesses in this part of the city and, in the process, boosts the choice of daytime and evening leisure facilities on offer in Lincoln.”

Banks Long & Co is currently overseeing the preparation of a planning application, which it expects to be submitted to the City of Lincoln Council in February.

“Provided everything goes to plan, we are hoping the redevelopment of The Mall will get underway, allowing the resulting venue to open its doors in the Autumn,” added Mr Bradford.

At this stage, the developer is unable to say how many new jobs the new business could create.