Bywater Properties, Ashmour and LRE Capital have today confirmed that the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, Boots, has signed a ten-year lease to remain in its flagship unit on Belfast’s Donegall Place.
With 2,500 stores across the UK ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores, Boots has held its position in Belfast since 1966. Boots UK is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc, the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise.
The retail and office block on Donegall Place was purchased by Bywater Properties, Ashmour and LRE Capital in 2016. In addition to the ground floor retail occupied by Boots, the consortium will be advancing with a 4,651m sq ft office refurbishment above the retail unit.
Working in partnership, Bywater Properties and Ashmour have recently received planning permission for the site of a car park at North Street/Smithfield Market which will be converted into a 260,000 sq ft mixed office and retail complex capable of accommodating 1,500 people. The plans for the 1.25-acre site include basement level car parking, new public realm, ground floor retail/restaurants and workspaces tailored for SMEs. The construction phase of the project, which is expected to begin in 2020, will create jobs for approximately 650 people.
Theo Michell, principal at Bywater Properties, said:
“Boots has been a long-standing tenant on Belfast’s Royal Avenue and we are delighted to have agreed a deal which will see them continue to hold their position for the next ten years. This announcement signals the retailer’s confidence in this area as the city’s main shopping street.
“The long-term deal with Boots gives us clarity to move ahead quickly with a very contemporary refurbishment of the space above Boots on Donegall Place which, on the first floor, has a fantastic 4.26m ceiling height and an opportunity for a really on-trend exposed fit out which we’ve not seen much of in the core Belfast market, but we know occupiers increasingly want.
“This is an exciting time for this part of Belfast, with significant regeneration planned for the coming years. Our own projects, both on Donegall Place and Smithfield Market, are included in that. With increased city centre office space and prime retail positions in the pipeline, Boots recognises the value of the location it holds, with footfall set to increase as more people are encouraged to live, work and shop here.”
Ashley Stewart, director of Ashmour, said:
“The Boots brand has been around for 170 years and it is still at the heart of the communities it serves. We are pleased to have secured such a recognisable name as our long-term retail tenant. We will adapt our original plans and proceed with a refurbishment of the top floors of the property, with the intention to attract a tenant to the commercial office space.
“Belfast is experiencing a high level of redevelopment at the moment and we know the demand is there for top quality office space. The city offers an attractive proposition for ambitious companies who are hoping to grow their operations, whether they are locally grown or setting up in Northern Ireland for the first time, and we look forward to working with a new tenant to deliver space which will work for them.”
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