Property briefs

Empty shop space mounts; IFSD deal; cladding pressure

Debenhams store Edinburgh

The closure of Debenhams and Arcadia stores will contribute to 15 million sq ft of retail space on UK high streets, according to figures from the Local Data Company.

More research from the British Retail Consortium shows Covid lockdowns in 2020 cost non-food retailers £22bn in lost sales.

The high street was hit by its biggest fall in sales for non-food stores on record – down 24% – as footfall decreased by two-fifths.

The City of London witnessed a 47% on year rise in the number of vacant commercial property units.

The financial district, home to both the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, has been hit hard by the crisis and has seen 255 vacancies by the end of 2020, as office workers stayed home.

Office refurbishment

Contractor Graham will regenerate 69,354 sq ft of offices in a seven-storey block in Glasgow’s International Financial Services District (IFSD) after agreeing a seven figure deal with management consultants Solutino.

The project at 6 Atlantic Quay, built in 2003, includes construction of 14 car parking spaces – two of which will have charging facilities for electric-vehicles – a revamped lobby and a new secondary entrance on to York Street.

Cladding pressure

The Scottish Government will come under increased pressure to address the building cladding crisis after UK housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced an additional £3.5 billion fund to fix high-rise buildings in England.

Mr Jenrick also revealed loans would be made available to fix similar problems in buildings less than 18 metres tall.

Property owners across the UK were faced with zero valued mortgage ratings due to fire risks discovered in cladding materials following the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017 in which 72 residents died.

The latest package announced on Wednesday is in addition to £1.6 billion that was made available for remediations by the government last year.

Katherine Metcalfe, a health and safety specialist and legal director at Pinsent Masons, said: “The UK Government has now committed to providing £5 billion of public money to remediate buildings with unsafe cladding. Whilst the problem is less prevalent in Scotland, it still exists.

“The Scottish Government will now come under increased pressure to provide equivalent funding in Scotland so that residents are safe in their homes.”

Prezzo outlets close

Italian casual dining chain Prezzo is to permanently close 22 of its 178 restaurants after being bought out of pre-pack administration by private investment firm Cain International.

As a result of the deal, 216 members of Prezzo’s 2,900-strong workforce have been made redundant.

Prezzo was forced into administration after failing to reach agreement with landlords on rent payments.

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