Property company invests in city high street

Property specialist Helmsley Group has made a key acquisition in the heart of York’s retail area.

It has purchased numbers three to seven on the city’s historic Coney Street.

The units, whose current occupiers include JD Sports, Lush, Mango, and the vacant unit previously occupied by Joe’s Kitchen, were bought off market for an undisclosed sum from M&G, the London-based asset management company.

The recent purchase complements a series of deals on Coney Street over the last 12 months.

Helmsley recently helped to bring the property formerly occupied by Dorothy Perkins and Burton on Coney Street back to life, as well as acquiring the units housing Ernest Jones and the old Poundland store.

The company has been investing in Coney Street for several years, following the purchase of units 39-43, which are currently let to Boots and W H Smith.

The York-based group, which offers syndicated property, property finance and development opportunities, believes that how people use city centres will evolve as society opens back up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ed Harrowsmith, investment director at the group, said: “Despite the uncertainty for our high streets caused by COVID-19, the pandemic has in many ways re-emphasised the resilience of our local economies as well as evidencing a real sense of community as people shop and buy local more than ever before.

“We believe this trend will continue as people increasingly socialise, visit attractions and maximise benefits from urban parks and public spaces.

“Additionally, we are increasingly seeing a move away from commercial property ownership in the hands of remote funds to more established local owners and investors who are committed to helping improve the built environment, communities and economies in which they operate.

“We are passionate about harnessing these trends to help and regenerate our high streets and city centres, allowing us to ‘build back better’.

“This strategic acquisition on one of York’s busiest shopping streets will be crucial allowing us to do this.”

Max Reeves, development director at Helmsley Group, said: “We believe that taking proactive steps now will not only benefit the economy in the short-term, but also cement a positive future for retail alongside creating resilient high streets for the future.

“The purchase of these core city centre properties is a central part of this strategy, given their proximity to other assets which are managed by Helmsley on behalf of our investors, including the buildings occupied by Vodka Revolution and City Screen on the riverfront.

“The remainder of this year and beyond is set to be an extremely exciting period as we spearhead once-in-a-generation opportunities, particularly in York.”

James Bradley at Langleys Solicitors provided legal advice and Knight Frank acted on behalf of Helmsley Group.

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