Moorgarth, the asset manager, is bringing the traditional marketplace back to its shopping centres in Bolton, Reading, Shirley and Edinburgh, to restore a sense of community and vibrancy to these public places.
The Leeds-based owner and investor is currently working on four projects in each of its shopping centres in Bolton Market Place, Broad Street Mall in Reading, Parkgate in Shirley and Waverley Mall in Edinburgh, to introduce traditional, quality, local product markets as an antidote to identikit towns and faceless online shopping.
Moorgarth works in partnership with operators, local entrepreneurs, landlords, local authorities, community groups and other third-party stakeholders to tailor projects to suit the desires and demands of the local communities.
Leading Moorgarth’s market revival strategy is Frédéric Bonnet, who boasts extensive experience in the positioning, development and management of retail markets and real estate consultancy. Frédéric Bonnet launched the Geraud Group in the UK, as European Leader for the management of outdoor and indoor, publicly or privately-owned, retail markets, from 2000-2014. During this time, he led successful proposals to take over the management of local authority markets such as Liverpool, Mendip Council, Allerdale Council, Swadlincote, Clevedon, Ipswich, Stratford Upon Avon and Oxford. In April 2011, he signed a long lease with London Associated Properties Plc, to successfully take over the management of the private Brixton Markets, to create the recognised “a place to go”. This success permitted London Associated Properties Plc to sell this asset for £37.3m. He has since provided consultancy to companies including Quintain and local authorities.
Tim Vaughan, CEO of Moorgarth Group, said: “For us, real estate asset management is about much more than buying and refurbishing a building and then renting it out or selling it. It’s about creating a working environment, a community that people relate to and want to spend time in, because it’s exciting, interesting and innovative.”
Moorgarth acquired Bolton Market Place in 2013 and has since completed a comprehensive repositioning of the grade 2 listed 1850s market hall to broaden the visitor attraction of the centre, including new restaurants, bars and a community cinema. Working closely with Bolton Council, the £20m transformation of the centre scooped awards at both the 2016 and 2017 Revo National Gold Awards ceremonies.
From July, the next phase of the market renaissance will open to complement the current retail offer with fresh quality products, artisan, craft and homemade products in three different sections.
The Market Place Kitchen, a street food market with seating areas, will open in the heart of the centre in July, followed by an outdoor market section, The Market Place Patio, offering flowers, arts and crafts, vintage items and bric-a-brac in August.
The Market Place Food Hall, with 20 units for local entrepreneurs selling quality fresh products, will open in October 2018.
At Broad Street Mall in Reading, plans have been submitted to reopen the entrance of an underground pub, closed more than 30 years ago, surrounding a new shipping container urban market.
Moorgarth has already secured planning permission for a ‘box park’ of 16 units on South Court at the rear of the mall, close to Hosier Street. The new plans will have the same mass and volume but be arranged in a different formation – namely on three levels along all four sides of South Court, to create a courtyard around the covered entrance to the former Target pub which was closed in the 1980s.
The development offers a new opportunity for local entrepreneurs to be part of the regeneration of Hosier Street, with a long-term plan for retail, restaurants and cafés, as well as freshly-prepared grab and go food.
At Waverley Mall in Edinburgh, Moorgarth has submitted new proposals for the mall to revitalise the existing roof space and create a new market-style piazza and natural meeting place within the heart of the capital.
“Along with the improved roof space, the new entrance and the widening of the pavement on Princes Street are all about establishing a greater sense of arrival into Edinburgh that utilises its unique and very important location,” said Vaughan.
“Retail is continuing to change and through innovative design we can create a scheme that is a true destination, offering facilities that Edinburgh currently doesn’t have. It is imperative that we enable the current offer to change and evolve to meet today’s customer demands for both residents, businesses and visitors to Edinburgh.”
Moorgarth’s fourth shopping centre is Parkgate in Shirley, which it acquired in 2016, identifying it as a prime retail and leisure offer with dominant footfall into the town. It is currently fully let and Moorgarth is planning to consolidate the retail offer and further improve the tenant line-up.
Moorgarth is inviting traders, retailers and entrepreneurs, local authorities, community groups and asset managers to get in touch to discuss new potential partnerships.
“Today’s value is not simply created from rent collection, but from the brand that has been created and developing an attractive product that the market desires,” said Bonnet. “Broadening the offer in any trading environment is something we always strive to achieve, whether in retail, food and beverage, office or residential environments.”