Developer sought for former Woolies’ site

A DEVELOPER is being sought to bring forward a mixed use scheme at Woolworths’ huge former distribution centre in Castleton, near Rochdale.

Agent Barton Kendal. which is acting on behalf of the site’s LPA receiver, Luscombe Trehane, has recently completed the last short-term letting at the site to Impact Partnership – an outsourcing joint venture between Mouchel and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council.

A series of other tenants have taken short-term space at the 350,000 sq ft centre, including Soccer Factory Leisure, which is using around 75,000 sq ft for a series of five-a-side football pitches. The average rent being paid is around £1.50 per sq ft.

Barton Kendal’s managing director, Steve Barton, said that the lettings meant that there was less pressure to find an immediate solution to the site’s long term future, meaning that it can carefully consider options for the site alomngside consultants Adapt Properties.

In March, planning approval was granted for a mixed use scheme on the site that includes 40,000 sq ft of shops (including a supermarket), 300 homes and 70,000 sq ft of employment space.

“We have not put it out to market yet but we have begun discussions with regards to a possible sale or joint venture deal with a developer,” Barton told TheBusinessDesk.com.

In the meantime, the lettings agreed now mean the site is producing “a significant income”, meaning that investors can afford to take time to consider the best proposals.

“Filling the site has been down to local knowledge,” he said. “We’ve been across town, knocking on doors and letting people know we have the space available.”