Retail reboot: Hammerson replaces New Look with surprise Brent Cross tenant
The changes that are happening in retail became very clear on Wednesday as major landlord Hammerson said that the former New Look store at the giant Brent Cross mall will be replaced by a medical facility.
It's the latest move in a trend that has seen former retail stores (especially fashion retail locations) being converted to housing, leisure, or other uses.
Hammerson and Aberdeen Standard Investments are joint owners of flagship destination Brent Cross and said that Moorfields Eye Hospital is to open its latest diagnostic hub at the destination. The facility, which opens in September, will be Moorfields’ third diagnostic hub outside of its central London hospital.
It will be taking 15,000 sq ft of space across two floors, in the unit previously occupied by New Look.
Iain Mitchell, UK Commercial Director at Hammerson, said: “We are constantly looking at how we can respond to evolving consumer needs, and innovate and enhance our destinations. Over the last year, we have seen how important access to healthcare services is to our communities, and Brent Cross's easily accessible location and free parking will provide a convenient and safe way for patients to access medical eye care. The decision by Moorfields is the latest example of how we are repurposing spaces, diversifying the tenant mix and creating vibrant destinations which serve local communities.”
It's an undeniably interesting move given that when fashion retailers move out, the new tenants that move in are more likely to be a retailer operating in a different sector, one focused on some kind of leisure activity, or perhaps a food and beverage outlet. But the arrival of Moorfields underlines the difficulty in finding enough of such complementary tenants these days.
That said, it's not necessarily a bad thing for a retail site. The arrival of the eye clinic will undoubtedly generate plenty of footfall and it may be visitor traffic that wouldn't have gone to Brent Cross previously.
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