Tougher times will not deter developer

ROKEBY Developments, one of the North-East’s most prominent emerging development companies, has announced plans to take its retail-led business nationwide.

ROKEBY Developments, one of the North-East’s most prominent emerging development companies, has announced plans to take its retail-led business nationwide.

Rokeby, of Barnard Castle in County Durham, revealed its ambitious plans at the recent British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) conference in Gateshead.

The firm, led by managing director Adrian Goodall, has been growing at an impressive rate in recent months – primarily in its North-East heartland – but is now expanding farther afield.

Mr Goodall’s fellow director Tom Naylor, based in London, is leading the drive to acquire schemes in the South of England and is bidding on a number of potential projects.

Rokeby’s first project in the South will be Antelope Park in Southampton, an 180,000sqft retail and leisure scheme. The company is currently undertaking major site works which will start the second phase of the £25m redevelopment.

Rokeby is also working on a range of retail-led schemes, including a 4.25-acre site next to Hexham station in Northumberland, a scheme anchored by Morrisons supermarkets in West Denton, Newcastle, and two other projects at Northallerton in North Yorkshire and Swadlincote in Derbyshire.

Mr Goodall said: “Rokeby currently has around £50m of work on site and £50m in its pipeline. Around half of this is retail. The bulk of our schemes have historically been in the North, but we intend to be much more aggressive in acquiring retail sites across the country, from Newcastle to Plymouth.

“We believe Rokeby is well positioned to be able to exploit current market conditions. Times will get harder, but we’re still seeing a lot of tenant requirements and banks are still lending.

“We believe you will see a repricing on the kind of shopping centre and retail opportunities we are after, which require our asset management and development skills. We will use our inside knowledge of key retailers’ requirements to direct our acquisitions.”

Mr Naylor said: “Rokeby has a proven track record of regenerating quite difficult sites working in partnership with a range of parties from local authorities, other developers and occupiers.

“My task is now to ensure that Rokeby is much better known nationally as a retail and mixed-use scheme developer.”

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