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Legal and General re-imagining retail with rent-free high streets

By Danielle Wightman-Stone



Institutional investor Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) Real Assets has launched a new blueprint for the future of the high street, which includes rent-free shops, as part of its strategy to “re-invent and re-position” retail.

The project kick-started with what it is calling a “curated shopping street,” called ‘Kingland’ in Poole, Dorset that is championing independent retailers.

Forming part of LGIM Real Asset’s national strategy to future proof retail, 10 new businesses, run by “innovative young entrepreneurs” have opened on the boutique street, and each has been given a shop with no rent or business rates for the first two years.

The idea is to allow the businesses, which include a fishmonger, coffee roaster, design studio, surfboard shop, zero-waste grocery store, art gallery, gin bar and store, home interiors specialist, restored second-hand furniture shop and perfumer, the chance to develop their retail offerings and to “flourish,” adds Legal and General.

In addition to the new independent retailers, Legal and General is also planning to launch a local market for up to 15 vendors, as well as a calendar of 500 events across Poole.

The initiatives form part of Legal and General’s ambitious national strategy to reinvent retail by re-imagining its retail assets, futureproofing them for the long-term. The boutique street is located adjacent to Legal and General’s Dolphin Shopping Centre and it hopes that the scheme will inject a new “identity and vibrancy” into the town centre.

The redevelopment of Kingland Crescent is the first step in Legal and General’s long-term plans for the area, which also includes investment in the neighbouring Dolphin Shopping Centre, which it acquired in 2013. Within the next 12 months, further units are set to open on the shopping street as part of the project’s next phase, alongside an annual programme of local events.

Legal and General looking to future-proof retail with new “curated shopping street” of independents

Legal and General added in the press release that they are looking to roll out this blueprint across several UK locations, with each scheme to be “curated” depending on the needs of each community.

Last year, LGIM Real Assets launched a flexible leasing model for retail and leisure occupiers, a commercial leasing framework focused on turnover based rent options.

Bill Hughes, head of real assets for LGIM, said in a statement: “Following the launch of our flexible leasing model last year, the launch of Kingland is a further strand in our wider strategy to reframe and reposition our retail offering. As owners, investors, and innovators, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are delivering future-ready places. And, through supporting localism and regeneration, we bring significant positive social and economic impact.

“Owing to changes in consumer trends, the UK retail sector has undergone a seismic shift in recent years. Traditional retailers have had to respond, or risk being left behind. LGIM Real Assets continues to shift the dial, stripping out the intermediaries and moving above and beyond the traditional retail model of ‘one size fits all’.”

Hughes, added: “This approach is testament to our focus on both the occupier and final customer, and demonstrates our commitment to bring innovation to the real estate sector. This will be key to remaining relevant and resilient in a post-Covid world.”

Denz Ibrahim, head of retail and futuring for LGIM Real Assets, added: “Kingland is a physical manifestation of what can happen when you offer deliberately ambitious, bold, creative, standout brands, who are doing something a bit different, a platform to launch their ideas and share their stories. It will deliver a market-leading environment jam-packed with hand-picked brands, programmed events and content all sourced locally. It’s a great example of our role as an editor of space, shaping environments to ensure we have the right content, at the right time, in the right places.

“As retail owners, we want healthy, successful and profitable businesses within our schemes; by bringing 10 new shops, and injecting vibrancy and experience into the area, we are driving up footfall and delivering value to Kingland Crescent and neighbouring Dolphin Centre. Now, more than ever, consumers prioritise localism, convenience, variety and experiences.”

courtesy of Legal and General Investment Management Real Assets

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Legal and General Investment Management Real Assets
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