WITH Regent Circus added to its portfolio alongside The Parade, UK Commercial Property Trust is confident it now has the means to keep shoppers in town day and night.
Robert Boag, senior investment director of the Guernsey company, acknowledge Swindon had issues in the past with keeping consumers in town when retailers began closing their doors at 5pm.
But he is confident the firm has the ideas, skills and knowledge of the area to entertain all their needs with The Parade’s daytime offering and evening leisure at Regent Circus.
The possibility of putting both complexes under one brand and marketing them together has been ruled out by Mr Boag, who said they will be run as entirely separate entities.
“I don’t think that’s going to be possible,” he said. “That’s the way we look at it – they are separate, but complimentary.
“Regent Circus is a welcome addition to the retail and leisure offer within Swindon and will hopefully mean that more people come into Swindon in the evening time.
“That’s been an issue before. This will give them a reason to come back in, rather than stay at home or go elsewhere.”
Last week, the Adver reported on the £32.8m price tag which had been slapped on the leisure and retail asset by Ashfield Land, the developer.
The final price agreed with UKCPT was £40.48m, driven up by keen interest from rival bidders.
Mr Boag said UKCPT was almost certainly helped by its past experience of the town in its ownership of The Parade.
“It’s been something the market’s been aware of for some time. It’s something I was aware of at the beginning of the summer, if not earlier,” he said.
“It was widely marketed, as you would expect. We were one of several parties interested.
“The fact we already own an asset in Swindon and I think we know quite a lot about Swindon helped us to make that significant investment.
“A lot of others might have had to do more work to find out about Swindon. We have spent a lot of money and know how retailing works in Swindon.
“The new housing, the new homes around Swindon are very positive statements about Swindon we believe in. There’s a lot going on.”
UKCPT will not have any significant, direct involvement on the ground at Regent Circus when it eventually opens.
Mr Boag said the company will hire a property management firm, which also manages The Parade, to oversee the complex when it is operational.
The firm will base staff at the site to ensure it runs smoothly.
Mr Boag could not confirm when Morrisons would open at the complex, but said he had been told it would be some time in November.