With the apparent dearth of new retail schemes due to grace the 'completions' list in the near future, it might come as pleasant news to learn that over the past month, EGi's Retail Scheme database welcomed four new major developments comprising a total of over 600,000 sq ft of new retail space. Click the icons on the map below for more details on each (zoom out to see all icons):
Whilst you wouldn't classify these as 'traditional' retail schemes, they are nonetheless indicative of a growing trend in the retail development world - namely, to build new space as part of a mixed-use scheme, rather than restricting projects to A1 use. Indeed, we are now even seeing owners of high-profile malls look to alternative uses to help fill vacant space and increase customer numbers (in addition to dwell time).
Of particular interest is the proposal just north of Dunstable, known in the official council document as the "strategic urban extension of Houghton Regis" It reminds me of a similar proposal I blogged about in November 2011 - an entirely new town on the Hoo Peninsula, to be known as Lodge Hill.
That particular scheme is still without outline approval after 15 months, so with that in mind I'll hold off on predictions as to when all this retail space will complete. It's encouraging, however, to know that despite all the well-documented struggles facing the retail market, there remains the ambition of developers and councils to keep faith with large-scale retail schemes - even if, going forward, retail space has to settle for being a constituent part of a mixed-use project, rather than the headline act of a single-use mall.