Benson Elliot Launches Plans to Convert Ealing’s Arcadia Shopping Centre

Benson Elliot, a leading UK-based private equity real estate investor, is submitting plans to convert the former Arcadia Shopping Centre from over 25 small shops into three large retail units fronting Ealing Broadway. The name ‘Arcadia Shopping Centre’ will go, and the fully refurbished building will be known as 1-8 The Broadway, W5.

Benson Elliot acquired the 2.8 acre Arcadia portfolio, including the shopping centre, in December 2012 for around £40m. This major reconfiguration marks the first step in the comprehensive regeneration of the site. A Planning Application for the scheme will be submitted this week (Wednesday 20 March 2013) to Ealing Council.

The old shopping centre will be comprehensively transformed inside and out. Inside, three new stores – a large unit at each of the lower and upper ground floors, together with a new corner unit – will be created to replace the current mish-mash of small shops and kiosk traders. Outside, glazing and greater detail will be added to the bland brickwork of the current building, creating a crisp and contemporary design that is both ambitious and in keeping with local architecture. The Arcadia Centre name will disappear and the new retail units revert to 1-8 The Broadway.

  • The main focus of the building will be the new corner entrance on The Broadway and Spring Bridge Road, which will feature metal-framed, double-height windows below a new landmark terracotta illuminated ‘lantern’ featuring a clock
  • The shopping centre’s Broadway façade will be brought back into line with the rest of the high street, with new framed double-height shop windows creating an open and inviting frontage
  • The building’s tired Spring Bridge Road façade will have its existing windows re-glazed and terracotta panelling added to the refurbished brickwork, creating a tidy, high quality and calming setting alongside the church

As part of the project’s development, Benson Elliot has consulted with Ealing Council, the Business Improvement District and the local community. Benson Elliot is working with Allies and Morrison, who are credited with a number of landmark developments in London, including the widely acclaimed refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank and sensitive mixed-use town centre schemes including Hereford and Winchester.

Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said: “Our vision is to resuscitate the struggling Arcadia Centre, turning it into three contemporary retail units fronting The Broadway. It’s very encouraging to see major high street brands and retailers expanding their presence, or entering the town centre for the first time. Given the number of vacant units on high streets up and down the country, we see this as a major vote of confidence in Ealing.”

Benson Elliot has secured three tenants: Morrisons will occupy a 47,000 gross sq ft ‘Fresh Format’ store at 1-8 The Broadway W5, and the two other retailers are TX Maxx and McDonald’s. TX Maxx will trade on the upper level still, but expand across the rest of the floor and will have a new Broadway entrance incorporating escalators and lifts, and re-open their Springbridge Road entrance. McDonald’s will move across to the old HMV unit, accessed from the Broadway corner. The rest of the lower floor will be let to Morrisons.

McDonald’s and TK Maxx will be able to continue trading throughout the building works.

Matthew McMillan, Chief Executive Officer, Ealing Broadway Business Improvement District said: “Ealing is on the up. Benson Elliot’s initial investment in the Arcadia Portfolio and now this commitment to create space for three large stores at 1-8 The Broadway is good news. With British Land recently buying the Broadway Centre, Land Securities coming onboard for the Cinema Quarter development and St George’s success at Dickens Yard, business and investor confidence in Ealing is really gathering pace. We look forward to continued momentum and discussing Benson Elliot’s plans for their phase two development shortly.”

At the same time Benson Elliot also announced the acquisition from Legal & General of 12-14 The Broadway. This takes Benson’s Elliot’s total investment to circa £45 m in the town centre. Later this year, the company will begin consultation on proposals for the rest of the site they own.

 

About the Arcadia Portfolio

The properties were assembled between 2006 and 2008 by Glenkerrin, an Irish developer. They planned to develop a c.1,000,000 sq ft mixed retail and residential scheme; while the Glenkerrin proposals for regeneration gained the backing of LB Ealing, at a subsequent public Inquiry the proposed scale and height were considered not to be in keeping with the adjoining Conservation Areas. In 2011, Glenkerrin was declared insolvent, resulting in all company assets being transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”).

On 29 October 2012, Benson Elliot exchanged contracts with Malcolm Shierson and Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton acting as Joint Administrator of Glenkerrin (UK) Limited and Joint LPA receiver over the assets of The Broadway Partnership for the acquisition of the Arcadia Portfolio, the major part of a 2.8-acre island-block in Ealing town centre, West London. Benson Elliot completed the deal on 7 December 2012.

The Benson Elliot redevelopment and upgrade plans will contribute towards the regeneration of Ealing town centre, reinforcing it as one of London’s most prosperous and well-connected areas. Furthermore, the £18 billion Crossrail project currently underway will also significantly improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50% from 2018.

Benson Elliot founder Marc Mogull has led the funding of urban regeneration projects across Europe during the past twenty years, and is the UK Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, the pre-eminent global land-use organisation. The Arcadia Site transaction represents the fifth investment for the €500 million Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III fund.

Morrisons – different and better than ever

Morrisons is the UK’s fourth largest food retailer with 500 stores. Our business is mainly food and grocery – the weekly shop. Uniquely we source and process most of the fresh food that we sell though our own manufacturing facilities, giving us close control over provenance and quality. We only sell 100% British fresh beef, lamb, pork and poultry and we have more people preparing more food in store than any other retailer including butchers, bakers and fishmongers. Every week, more than 11 million customers pass through our doors and more than 132,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. With competitive prices and hundreds of special offers, we are proud to save our customers money every day.

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