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23 May, 2022 - 20:15 By Tony Quested

Schroders unveils string of retail warehousing deals

Schroders Capital UK Real Estate Fund (SCREF) has completed 121,000 sq ft of new lettings across its portfolio of retail warehousing assets in the East of England – with deals signed in Essex and Norfolk as well as Kent and East London.

The lettings, which take SCREF’s total retail warehouse and leisure portfolio to 93 per cent let by ERV, were agreed at the fund’s retail parks in Chatham, Norwich, Colchester, Chelmsford, and Romford.  

All of the deals have been agreed on 10 or 15-year terms as demand grows for retail warehousing units from convenience and leisure-led occupiers. 

At Chatham Waterside in Kent, SCREF has signed fast growing dessert chain Kaspas and global coffee shop operator Costa on 10-year leases. 

Kaspas will occupy a 1,650 sq ft unit, while Costa will move into a 1,450 sq ft unit with both set to open in the next month.

The arrival of Kaspas and Costa follows the recent openings of KFC, Gymfinity Kids and Ninja Warrior UK at Chatham Waterside. The leisure scheme also includes Odeon Cinema and Pure Gym, as well as well-known restaurant operators such as Nandos, Subway and Pizza Hut. This recent run of new lettings means that only one unit remains available at the 123,000 sq ft site.

SCREF has also announced a series of deals at its retail parks in Norwich and Colchester. At Hall Road Retail Park in Norwich, Pump Gyms has joined the line-up, committing to a 16,500 sq ft letting on a 25-year lease, whilst electricals brand Hughes has extended its lease on its 21,500 sq ft store. 

At Turner Rise Retail Park in Colchester, a 10-year lease has been secured with B&M on a 32,500 sq ft unit, Bensons for Beds has committed to a 10,000 sq ft unit on a new 10-year lease and a third major national chain is currently finalising a five-year extension to an existing lease on 30,000 sq ft.

Schroders Capital has transformed both assets in recent years, with Homebase at Hall Road being downsized and the 80,000 sq ft unit being reconfigured into four separate units which have been let to Homebase, Iceland, Home Bargains and now Pump Gyms on long-term leases.  

Earlier this year, SCREF also acquired The Brewery in Romford, a 21-acre retail and leisure space anchored by national operators including a Sainsbury’s superstore, Nuffield Health, The Range, Boots, Pure Gym, a 16-screen Vue Cinema and several food and beverage outlets, as the fund looks to capitalise on the demand for retail and leisure warehousing.

Since the acquisition, SCREF is under offer on a trio of deals with new national occupiers for a collective 10,500 sq ft of space with each of the units being committed on 15-year leases. Another 8,200 sq ft unit in Romford has been extended by existing operator Cosmo for a further seven years.

This run of activity commenced at the start of 2022, when a 15-year lease to “Fridays”, formerly TGI Fridays, was signed at The Meadows Retail Park in Chelmsford town centre. The new 8,250 sq ft flagship restaurant is due to open later this quarter.

Schroders Capital has $74.9 billion of assets under management.

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