Empty department store. Photo by Malcolm Neal on Geograph

Restaurateur creates new venture to take over dead department stores

The founder of one of the world’s largest chains of Mexican restaurants has set up a new venture to take over defunct UK department stores and repurpose them as thriving mixed-use spaces styled as a public version of Soho House. Tortilla founder Brandon Stephens is leading the new venture and is in advanced discussions with landlords about signing leases on its first sites. Provisionally called Anthem, the new concept will include elements such as workspace, meeting rooms, food halls, bars and cafés, competitive socialising space, and fitness and wellbeing facilities.…

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Trafford Centre entrance. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Getting ‘intu’ John Whittaker’s mind: “like a holiday in crazyland”

This is a difficult moment for Intu’s chief shareholder, John Whittaker. Whittaker, who built the Trafford Centre, now faces some unenviable choices as the main Intu corporate vehicle confronts administration. Whittaker has seen shares in the company once worth hundreds of millions of pounds go to zero. Bisnow reflects on what options he has, and what he might be thinking. How Very Dare They The Trafford Centre, now valued at around £1.5B, was a very personal project for Whittaker, as a 2012 interview with Property Week revealed. The centre is…

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UK government has advised the public to stay away from pubs (Flickr)

Can UK landlords help struggling leisure tenants?

Last weekend, Anthony Lorenz’s phone was ringing off the hook. Client after client was calling the London-based veteran tenant rep advisor, all with the same problem. Revenue had fallen off a cliff, cash flow was tight and on 25 March the quarterly rent was falling due. “I had clients I hadn’t spoken to for two years, ringing out of the blue, asking for help talking to their landlord,” the managing director of The Lorenz Consultancy said. “We act for some of the biggest clubs, bars and restaurants in the West…

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