The new owners of a long-standing vacant retail development in the heart of the town centre say they are confident they can ‘provide a mixed-use offering’ for the area.
Henblas Square, once home to some of the biggest names on the high street, has notoriously been seen as eyesore in the town centre and also one of the causes of the drop in footfall around Queens Square and Chester Street.
Seen as a ‘landmark development’ when it was built back in the late 90s/early 00s, Henblas Square has more recently seen all its high street retailers vacate the site either due to relocation or companies falling into administration.
The first major blow to the shopping area was the loss of TJ Hughes in 2011, which many saw as a link between the town centre and Chester Street and the People’s Market.
Shops such as Bodycare, The Entertainer, Evans and the Post Office have also left site.
In August 2017 the last big name of Henblas Square, Bhs, entered administration – leaving one of the site’s largest and most prominent retail units vacant.
Over recent months there have been rumours that there was interest in purchasing the site and last week it was confirmed that Henblas Square had been purchased by Manchester based MCR Property Group
Yesterday Wrexham Council released further details about the new ownership of Henblas Square, stating that its Housing and Economy Department had worked hard alongside MCR since the firm exchanged on the site to look at possible tenants.
Further conversations will be held to discuss the opportunities that this site holds in terms of delivering regeneration in a key part of town.
Cllr Terry Evans, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, welcomed news that the deal on the site had been completed.
He said: “When BHS went into administration, that was obviously very sad news for high streets across the UK. Times and trends are changing nationwide, and Wrexham won’t be the only town that has to keep changing with them.
“We’re very pleased that MCR has decided to put their faith in Wrexham town centre, and invest in the heart of the town.”
A spokesman for MCR said: “The acquisition of Henblas Square is an exciting addition to our ever-expanding retail portfolio.
“As a business, we have a proven track record of re-invigorating distressed assets and working in conjunction with Wrexham Council, we are confident we can provide a mixed-use offering to the area in keeping with the overall Town Centre Masterplan.”
Details of Wrexham’s ‘Town Centre Masterplan’ were unveiled in October 2015, providing a strategic vision that could shape the town centre over the next ten years.
The plan, which was adopted by Wrexham Council in April 2016, focuses on several key sites in the town centre area, including Bridge Street, Queens Square, Henblas Street, Bodhyfryd and the soon to be vacant Fire Station on Bradley Road.
The hefty 84 page document details a number of proposals for the town centre, including retail, new housing and further pedestrianisation
Cllr Evans added: “The Masterplan made the importance of Henblas Street and Henblas Square very clear, so it’s excellent to see the promise of new development in that part of town.
“We’ve always said that this part of town is crucial, forming the traditional town centre alongside High Street, Charles Street, Regent Street, Hope Street and Chester Street.”