Green & Partners have advised client on acquisition, asset management strategy and planned repurposing of White Lion Walk in Guildford.
Despite the impacts of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK retail landscape, Guildford remains a resilient prime retail market and continues to attract investors and occupiers alike.
With its historic High Street, low levels of out-of-town retail development and solid economic and property fundamentals, Surrey’s County town is regarded as one of the premier retailing locations in the UK. The Borough Council continues to focus investment on the regeneration and development of the town centre as opposed to any development of an out-of-town retail offer.
White Lion Walk is a prime location which provides a vital pedestrian connection between the High Street and The Friary Centre and shops on North Street. Originally developed in the 1980s, White Lion Walk was in need of investment and working with Green & Partners our client Redevco identified the potential asset for redevelopment when it came to market.
In 2020, Green & Partners bought the asset for Redevco and worked with them to create a strategy for asset management to allow the scheme to be refurbished and deliver alternative uses. During the planning process and despite the impact of the pandemic, we successfully renegotiated 14 leases allowing the scheme to move ahead.
Proactive vision has seen the Landlord take possession of the former Next store and develop plans for the space to be reconfigured to provide a High Street Fronting opportunity (which has already been subject to a number of offers), and a repurposed first floor to provide 16,000 sq. ft of offices accessed from directly from North Street.
Adam Bindman, Partner at Green & Partners said “We’re delighted to work alongside Redevco, not only with our Investment Team having acquired the asset, but also in preparing the asset for the upcoming repurposing and refurbishment. The scheme will offer a mixed-use development in the heart of Guildford connecting the High Street and North Street, and this will be achieved through a proactive Landlord working with an existing asset to enable repositioning.”
Andrew Foulds of Redevco said “Green & Partners have delivered a number of transactions during a difficult period which have enabled us to focus on the delivery of this project. We all look forward to the future of White Lion Walk and restoring the holding to its rightful place in Guildford, while offering a complementary offer to neighbouring locations.”
Work started on site in January 2022. The retail element will be refurbished by upgrading entrances and removing the central atrium lift and escalators to create clear sight lines. All the internal finishes will be renewed, and shopfronts replaced to create a modern contemporary look and feel. Significantly, the first floor will be turned into office suites of up to 16,000 sq. ft creating permanent footfall and vibrancy.
Please contact Adam Bindman or Harry Jeffery to discuss this property further.