Exclusive: Regent Circus up for sale for £32.8m months ahead of opening

August 7, 2014
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Swindon’s Regent Circus leisure and retail development has gone on the market with a £32.8m price tag months before it is due to open.

Building work on the 97,000 sq ft scheme, which includes a six-screen cinema, seven restaurants and a Morrisons supermarket, is expected to finish within the next couple of months. It is due to open to the public early next year.

According to developers Ashfield Land, just one of the restaurant units remains unlet – making the scheme more than 94% pre-let. The scheme, which is transforming the five-acre former derelict Swindon College site, is being advertised for sale by property agency JLL which says it will have a rental income of more than £2m a year.

The 47,780 sq ft leisure part of the scheme is anchored by a 19,000 sq ft digital cinema to be operated by Cineworld, the UK’s largest multiplex chain with 79 cinemas. The remainder of the leisure space will be taken up by restaurants – signed up so far are Prezzo, ASK, Nando’s, Coal Grill and Bar, Jimmy’s World Grill & Bar and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. This part of the scheme has its own 212-space car park.

Pictured: Construction work on Regent Circus. Photo by Forward Swindon

In front of the scheme will be a plaza facing the town centre. Morrisons will occupy the 49,410 sq ft  foodstore, which will face Victoria Road and have its own 238-space car park.

JLL’s London office is marketing Regent Circus as “the only modern leisure scheme in Swindon”.

It said: “Currently, a significant proportion of the available leisure spend in and around Swindon migrates to more distant areas such as Bristol, Reading, Bath and Oxford. Regent Circus will not only retain these people in Swindon, but will also act as a draw from other affluent areas in its hinterland such as Marlborough, Hungerford and Malmesbury.

“For years there has been a dearth of good quality places for customers to dine in central Swindon, with the only existing mid or upper-market restaurant currently being Pizza Express in the Old Town, which lies to the south.”

Regent Circus, it says, will “at long last give the affluent Swindon catchment the facilities it has been craving”.

According to JLL, the Regent Circus cinema will lure movie-goers from Swindon’s two existing multiplexes – on the east and west of the town – because of its location, state-of-the-art technology, better-quality facilities and superior nearby eateries.

“Shaw Ridge Leisure Park is anchored by a Cineworld cinema which is 25 years old and, with old format sloped seating, is approaching its age of obsolescence,” the Regent Circus marketing brochure says.

“It is in recognition of this that Cineworld want to open a new cinema at Regent Circus. The restaurant offer at Shaw Ridge comprises local operators of Indian and Chinese themed formats.”

While the Empire multiplex cinema on the Greenbridge Retail and Leisure Park is more up to date, it is 20 years old and “suffers from a lack of visibility to passing traffic because it is shielded by the terraces of units on Greenbridge Retail Park”.

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