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Lion Walk Centre is put on the market
COLCHESTER’S Lion Walk shopping centre is up for sale.
LaSalle UK Ventures has spent more than £3.2million refurbishing the centre since it bought it four years ago. Now it has put it on the market.
The price of the leasehold has not been revealed, but is estimated to be in the region of £70million.
Centre manager Paul Bentham said Lion Walk remained commercially successful despite tough trading conditions in the recession.
He added: “Visitor numbers have increased year on year. They are 23 per cent more than last year and the shops are trading extremely well, given the country’s economic conditions.
“LaSalle is selling the leasehold and there is a lot of interest from property companies.”
The centre, built in 1977, has a total of 327,000 sq ft of retail space and covers an area which takes in 42 shops, Colchester Library, the United Reformed Church and Lion Walk activity centre. Major retailers include Boots, River Island, BHS, Top Shop and Marks and Spencer. It attracts about six million visitors a year.
Recent improvement work has included better paving, fascias and lighting and removing the bridge over Culver Walk.
The centre also has planning permission to merge four shops into a single 20,000 sq ft unit which would be more attractive to a big-name retailer.
The centre was built on the site of a Roman house and archaeologists were called in to excavated the site in 1972 before work could got ahead. Their key find was a 4th century mosaic known as the Walking Lion, which inspired the centre’s name.
As its manager, Mr Bentham has been keen to get involved in Colchester life. A temporary shop raised more than £16,000 for the charity, Help for Heroes, in just two weeks.
The centre also supported the Love Where You Live anti-litter campaign and is a leading supporter of the Colchester Free Festival.