Three more set to sign for Friars Walk bringing pre-let total to more than 50%

CONFIDENT: Paul Sargent, partner at Queensberry Real Estate

CONFIDENT: Paul Sargent, partner at Queensberry Real Estate

First published in News
Last updated

Three more major high street names are all set to sign to take space at Newport’s Friars Walk retail development in the city centre.

The retailers, who cannot be revealed due to client confidentiality, will be taking 45,000 sq ft of space, taking the total pre-let to more than 50 per cent of the space available. Debenhams is set to be the anchor store and Next, Top Shop, Cineworld, Nandos and Cosmo are among the businesses which have already committed to the £90m retail and leisure scheme.

Paul Sargent, of developers Queensberry Real Estate, told Business Argus that once the three had signed contracts, their names would be revealed but he said they were all well-known high street names.

He also revealed that Queensberry moved on to the development site in mid-February to start development work.

At the moment they were working alongside Cuddy, which was the firm employed by Newport City Council to carry out the first phase of the demolition of the former Capitol carpark and surrounding buildings.

Queensberry has appointed Bowmer and Kirkland, which is based in Belper, Derbyshire, as the preferred contractor to carry out the building work on the project.

Mr Sargent said: “We got on site on February 17 and on that date we were granted a 250-year lease for the ground. Bowmer and Kirkland are on site and are setting up offices and moving in equipment as we speak. Cuddy are still on site but we’re there as well so we can make the most of our time. We are still on schedule for Friars Walk to be open in 21 months in November 2015.”

He said Queensberry had also set up an office in Newport city centre, which currently was home to two members of staff, including the development manager who was involved in the retail centre in Bath built by Queensberry.

Newport City Council has agreed to lend Queensberry £90mto make sure the scheme goes ahead.

Haydn Thomas, of Newport-based Hutchings and Thomas Chartered Surveyors, said: “At long last this is a bit of tangible good news which we can all celebrate. The fact that demolition is nearing the end and the contractors are on site now dispels any feeling of false dawns and the will they, won’t they over the Friars Walk scheme - it’s really happening this time.

“This positive news, linked with recent upturn in the economic forecast for the country and the very welcome jobs figures, gives solid and genuine reasons for belief in the success of this privately-led city centre scheme

“This will also give other potential occupiers, who have perhaps been lingering on the sidelines waiting to see what would happen, the confidence to now ride the wave and stake their claim for a piece of the action.”

Mr Thomas revealed that the knock-on effects of the scheme are already being registered.

“We are currently working with clients to develop a scheme for the refurbishment of a section of Upper Dock Street, in the city centre, for a part-retail and part-residential scheme. The catalyst for his project can be laid fairly and squarely on the confidence created by the progression of the Friars Walk scheme.

“The proposed scheme has the potential not just to bring six refurbished retail units to the bus station end of Upper Dock Street but also the creation of some 20 plus modern, loft-style residential units to bring people into the centre of the city and help to create a new, 24 hour dynamic for Newport.”

Comments (11)

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2:13pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Lliswerry Man says...

Good Luck.... still got to get people in to spend their now "hard earned" cash. Low paid city with high living costs... and this is supposed to save us?

I hope I get egg on my face and this turns into a success, for my children and grandchildren, but having seen similiar promises of jobs, places to shop and live in Newport Centre over the years all fail, I hold out little hope.

ITS all good saying we have X Y and Z onboard... what you are not saying is where you are going to find the shoppers and users of the centre... and what you will do to attract them? Will these stores be cheaper than Online? or other local Shopping Centres? I doubt it.

Do we have a good Public Affordable Bus service? NO.
Do we have decent all day parking like other well known areas for FREE? NO.
Are we to have affordable rents/rates for the retail outlet? answer probably NO due to the costs borrowed just to build this monster.

I hope I am wrong, I miss the thriving town centre and John Frost Square full of happy people sat around, eating chips, chatting to old friends and simply hanging out between shopping and catching a bus home at the old flyover bus station that took no time to change between buses unlike today which is a shambles, buses too far from each other meaning many late appointments ......
Good Luck.... still got to get people in to spend their now "hard earned" cash. Low paid city with high living costs... and this is supposed to save us? I hope I get egg on my face and this turns into a success, for my children and grandchildren, but having seen similiar promises of jobs, places to shop and live in Newport Centre over the years all fail, I hold out little hope. ITS all good saying we have X Y and Z onboard... what you are not saying is where you are going to find the shoppers and users of the centre... and what you will do to attract them? Will these stores be cheaper than Online? or other local Shopping Centres? I doubt it. Do we have a good Public Affordable Bus service? NO. Do we have decent all day parking like other well known areas for FREE? NO. Are we to have affordable rents/rates for the retail outlet? answer probably NO due to the costs borrowed just to build this monster. I hope I am wrong, I miss the thriving town centre and John Frost Square full of happy people sat around, eating chips, chatting to old friends and simply hanging out between shopping and catching a bus home at the old flyover bus station that took no time to change between buses unlike today which is a shambles, buses too far from each other meaning many late appointments ...... Lliswerry Man
  • Score: 6

3:14pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Walter Devereux says...

Excellent news. Time to start talking the city up, not continuing in the negative tone of the poster above.
Excellent news. Time to start talking the city up, not continuing in the negative tone of the poster above. Walter Devereux
  • Score: 35

4:19pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Corda1983 says...

I don't think the poster is being negative, Walter. Healthy skepticism is very much needed. Newport has experienced numerous setbacks and stumbles and Friars Walk, even if it reaches the finish line, is not guaranteed to reverse fortunes.

There is still the question of how the city centre competes with retail parks. If and how Commercial Street can gain from Friars Walk. Of what will happen with regards to important public facilities like the Riverfront, the Museum & Art Gallery etc.

It's encouraging, perhaps, but far from excellent. Reading this article you see contracts haven't even been signed by these two mysterious retailers yet. And there is still a good percentage of unsold space. And we still have nearly two years of pretty savage public cuts to endure before Friars Walk opens.

Newport is still in a very dark place and the short and medium term don't look great. Yes, the economy seems to be recovering and that can only help, but Friars Walk does little to address the more pressing concerns we face.

It'll be time to talk the city up when it's an attractive, engaging place to visit. Until then, it's better to proceed with very cautious optimism and skepticism. Newport doesn't have a good record of getting things right.
I don't think the poster is being negative, Walter. Healthy skepticism is very much needed. Newport has experienced numerous setbacks and stumbles and Friars Walk, even if it reaches the finish line, is not guaranteed to reverse fortunes. There is still the question of how the city centre competes with retail parks. If and how Commercial Street can gain from Friars Walk. Of what will happen with regards to important public facilities like the Riverfront, the Museum & Art Gallery etc. It's encouraging, perhaps, but far from excellent. Reading this article you see contracts haven't even been signed by these two mysterious retailers yet. And there is still a good percentage of unsold space. And we still have nearly two years of pretty savage public cuts to endure before Friars Walk opens. Newport is still in a very dark place and the short and medium term don't look great. Yes, the economy seems to be recovering and that can only help, but Friars Walk does little to address the more pressing concerns we face. It'll be time to talk the city up when it's an attractive, engaging place to visit. Until then, it's better to proceed with very cautious optimism and skepticism. Newport doesn't have a good record of getting things right. Corda1983
  • Score: 3

4:28pm Tue 25 Feb 14

bobmech1 says...

I believe that Friars Walk will be the death bell for commercial street as it will take shoppers away from there.
I have also heated that the cinema moving into town will shut the cinema at Spitty so the free parking will disappear and you'll have to pay park for the cinema.
It's all promises so far and we have heared these before time and time again
I believe that Friars Walk will be the death bell for commercial street as it will take shoppers away from there. I have also heated that the cinema moving into town will shut the cinema at Spitty so the free parking will disappear and you'll have to pay park for the cinema. It's all promises so far and we have heared these before time and time again bobmech1
  • Score: -24

4:58pm Tue 25 Feb 14

welshmen says...

If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work.

On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT....
If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work. On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT.... welshmen
  • Score: -9

6:14pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Adrian Williams says...

M&S, Sports Direct and H&M would be my guess
M&S, Sports Direct and H&M would be my guess Adrian Williams
  • Score: 10

7:38pm Tue 25 Feb 14

scraptheWAG says...

Lliswerry Man wrote:
Good Luck.... still got to get people in to spend their now "hard earned" cash. Low paid city with high living costs... and this is supposed to save us?

I hope I get egg on my face and this turns into a success, for my children and grandchildren, but having seen similiar promises of jobs, places to shop and live in Newport Centre over the years all fail, I hold out little hope.

ITS all good saying we have X Y and Z onboard... what you are not saying is where you are going to find the shoppers and users of the centre... and what you will do to attract them? Will these stores be cheaper than Online? or other local Shopping Centres? I doubt it.

Do we have a good Public Affordable Bus service? NO.
Do we have decent all day parking like other well known areas for FREE? NO.
Are we to have affordable rents/rates for the retail outlet? answer probably NO due to the costs borrowed just to build this monster.

I hope I am wrong, I miss the thriving town centre and John Frost Square full of happy people sat around, eating chips, chatting to old friends and simply hanging out between shopping and catching a bus home at the old flyover bus station that took no time to change between buses unlike today which is a shambles, buses too far from each other meaning many late appointments ......
low pay yes high cost of living NO houses are very cheap so is rent probably due to state of the place.
[quote][p][bold]Lliswerry Man[/bold] wrote: Good Luck.... still got to get people in to spend their now "hard earned" cash. Low paid city with high living costs... and this is supposed to save us? I hope I get egg on my face and this turns into a success, for my children and grandchildren, but having seen similiar promises of jobs, places to shop and live in Newport Centre over the years all fail, I hold out little hope. ITS all good saying we have X Y and Z onboard... what you are not saying is where you are going to find the shoppers and users of the centre... and what you will do to attract them? Will these stores be cheaper than Online? or other local Shopping Centres? I doubt it. Do we have a good Public Affordable Bus service? NO. Do we have decent all day parking like other well known areas for FREE? NO. Are we to have affordable rents/rates for the retail outlet? answer probably NO due to the costs borrowed just to build this monster. I hope I am wrong, I miss the thriving town centre and John Frost Square full of happy people sat around, eating chips, chatting to old friends and simply hanging out between shopping and catching a bus home at the old flyover bus station that took no time to change between buses unlike today which is a shambles, buses too far from each other meaning many late appointments ......[/p][/quote]low pay yes high cost of living NO houses are very cheap so is rent probably due to state of the place. scraptheWAG
  • Score: -9

10:16pm Tue 25 Feb 14

County says...

I hope it's Lush Cosmetics; a dude likes to be pampered.
I hope it's Lush Cosmetics; a dude likes to be pampered. County
  • Score: 12

12:09am Wed 26 Feb 14

slice_of_life says...

Good news. would love to shop more in Newport. I go in pretty much every saturday, Trip round the market, burger or pattie from Turners shop front. Friars Walk development is not the complete answer to Newport's troubles, but I believe it is a step in the right direction and part of a bigger solution. Managed right and supported it does not have to be the death of commercial street. I'll try not to get into a lengthly debate about free parking, but i do not believe that is a killer, free parking at cwmbran, true, but as I'm living in Newport it would cost me more in Petrol to drive there than park for two hours free in Kingsway or even pay £2 (Free Parking? it isnt free, its passed on to the rents of the retail units, the owners of the retail estate knowing they can charge more because its got the 'attraction' of free parking for customers, where do you think shops renting these places pass on this cost? to you the consumer). Fears Newport cannot compete with Cardiff or Bristol? maybe not, but there is no reason why Newport people should necessarily go to Cwmbran, and a well developed Newport could attract Cwmbran people and the surrounding area to Newport.
Good news. would love to shop more in Newport. I go in pretty much every saturday, Trip round the market, burger or pattie from Turners shop front. Friars Walk development is not the complete answer to Newport's troubles, but I believe it is a step in the right direction and part of a bigger solution. Managed right and supported it does not have to be the death of commercial street. I'll try not to get into a lengthly debate about free parking, but i do not believe that is a killer, free parking at cwmbran, true, but as I'm living in Newport it would cost me more in Petrol to drive there than park for two hours free in Kingsway or even pay £2 (Free Parking? it isnt free, its passed on to the rents of the retail units, the owners of the retail estate knowing they can charge more because its got the 'attraction' of free parking for customers, where do you think shops renting these places pass on this cost? to you the consumer). Fears Newport cannot compete with Cardiff or Bristol? maybe not, but there is no reason why Newport people should necessarily go to Cwmbran, and a well developed Newport could attract Cwmbran people and the surrounding area to Newport. slice_of_life
  • Score: 16

12:15pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Mike Roland says...

welshmen wrote:
If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work.

On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT....
I had more success at trying to fathom out Ulysses as a sixth-former than at cracking Welshmen's code. What are you trying to say?
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work. On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT....[/p][/quote]I had more success at trying to fathom out Ulysses as a sixth-former than at cracking Welshmen's code. What are you trying to say? Mike Roland
  • Score: 6

7:11pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Limestonecowboy says...

welshmen wrote:
If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work. On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT....
Keep playing your Morrissey CDs!
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: If people haven't got £40 to £80 disposable cash a week to spend at the new Friars Walk then with great regret it wont work. On-line accounts they are rising making shopping easier for the old and disabled, tourism is the one of the best ways to have regular shoppers, but it's a Barrage in the Seven or a Barrage across the Usk estuary, but to make any of this work the Police and the Council have to make it a safe and friendly place to visit, at this present time it's NOT....[/p][/quote]Keep playing your Morrissey CDs! Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 3

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