With the marketing of retail sites at the town centre development now officially under way B&NES Council is yet to reveal whether it has signed any national retailer for the anchor sites. The Week In understands however that negotiations are taking place with Matalan, the clothing and homeware chain.
Commercial property agents DTZ have been appointed to find tenants to fill the twelve retail units of between 750 and 4700 sq ft which will be known as Marketplace. The agent’s brochure describes the area as ‘ideal for high street retailers and restaurant chains’ which will serve a population of over 285,000 and an additional 2000 homes in the town by 2026. It also points out that Waitrose is opening in (Broadmead Lane) Keynsham next year!
Three of the larger 2000 sq ft units will be available only as retail sites while all of the others are offered for A1 (retail) A2 (financial/professional services) or A3 (food and drink) use. No details of rents are included in the prospectus but it is understood that the units opposite the library and civic centre building are being offered at between £12,000-£13,000 p.a.
The lower ground floor space, fronting Bath Hill is being offered as two separate units of around 1000 sq ft each while the largest single unit at 4700 sq ft is being suggested for use as a restaurant with outdoor terrace.
When the original proposal to redevelop Keynsham town centre was adopted by the previous, Conservative led B&NES Council in 2009, consultants at the time warned against including retail provision in the scheme. Concerns that rental values in Keynsham would be insufficient for any developer to justify taking on the project led to B&NES’ ultimate decision to undertake the development itself.
Work began on demolishing the old Town Hall and Civic Centre complex in November 2012 and the topping out ceremony took place on the new build less than a year later. Completion is scheduled for August 2014 with the transfer of office staff from Riverside complete by the Autumn.