The Churchmanor Estates Company has completed its new £70m Stane Retail Park in the Tollgate Retail Area of Stanway, Colchester; believed to be the only major new retail park speculatively funded and constructed entirely during the pandemic period.

Construction of the 173,000 sq ft scheme started in September 2020 and entered into a forward commitment to sell the first phase of the Park (pre-let to B&Q and Aldi) to Uttlesford District Council for £29.5 million, providing a yield of 5.6 per cent.

The remaining 73,000 sq ft was built speculatively and at practical completion Marks and Spencer have entered into a 20-year FRI lease on 80,000 sq ft including a trading mezzanine to provide a new full line store in their new retail park format similar to stores recently opened in Solihull and due to open in Stevenage shortly. The new store will open in late Summer 2022.

Andrew Icke, regional manager for M&S, said: “We’re excited to announce our plans to invest in the local area and open a brand new, larger M&S store at Stane Retail Park, which will offer customers in Colchester a much bigger range of M&S products across our Foodhall and Clothing & Home departments, and a new M&S Café. The new store will be finished and open to customers later this autumn.”

Lettings have also been completed with Cook and Greggs for the kiosk units and two further retail units are under offer leaving 16,000 sq ft remaining in either one or more units.

The scheme benefits from planning consent for open retail non-food uses, and for the installation of trading mezzanine floors.

Stephen Clark, chief executive of Churchmanor, said: “Our 20-acre site is ideally situated in Tollgate on junction 26 of the A12 and is directly opposite a 140,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store which is one of their top performers in the UK.

“The trading performance of the B&Q and Aldi has also consistently exceeded all expectations since opening in late 2021, reinforcing the strength of the location. We believe our commitment to build the scheme speculatively has been vindicated by the letting to M&S. The Tollgate area of Colchester is set to become, according to Trevor Woods Associates research, one of the top 10 retailing clusters in the UK following the completion of our scheme together with another park starting shortly.

“We are delighted to have forward sold the first phase of Stane Retail Park to Uttlesford District Council and securing Aldi and B&Q on RPI leases perfectly matched Uttlesford DC’s investment requirements.”

Councillor Neil Reeve, portfolio holder for the economy and investment and Uttlesford District Council said: “Uttlesford District Council is delighted to add this opportunity to our investment portfolio and we have been pleased to work with Chuchmanor and the tenants as this project has gone through to completion”

David Coleby of Mark Liell LLP, who represented Uttlesford DC said: ‘This has long been recognised as one of the most successful retail trading locations in the South East, and we are extremely pleased to have advised and given Uttlesford DC the opportunity to invest in this development”.

Gregory Moore Property advised The Churchmanor Estates Company.

​Image source: The Churchmanor Estates Company

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