Can cinemas breathe life into the leisure investment market?

Andrew McGregor

Don’t just listen to me, but it seems the streaming vs movie “battle” has found its equilibrium. Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos and Disney CEO Bob Chapek have both recently stated that you can’t have one without the other. Big screen drives big franchises, which in turn drives streaming features and spinoff series. We can live in hope therefore, that come 17th May (when hopefully UK cinemas can once again draw back the curtain), that we will once again have a thriving movie industry.

Our own COVID experience at BGP, is that most cinema operators have taken the opportunity to agree rent reductions, rent free periods and/or rent deferment with their landlords, who in turn have been rewarded with longer leases. We have been indirectly involved with at least 7 such re-gears, which have resulted in an average lease extension of 5 years with a resultant cap rate (valuation) improvement of c25 bps. We also anticipate that the cinemas of tomorrow may need to offer a greater customer experience, and perhaps work in harmony with the more flexible working habits, such as co-working space and event-hosting.

Now is probably not the time to be selling cinema-anchored, multi-let leisure schemes, but you can certainly be doing the prep. Any buyer will want to understand the payment history, the plan for recovery and the joint investment these schemes will need to ensure that the customer feels super safe to return. My colleagues are still up to their eyes in new lettings, especially from “competitive socialising” and leisure brands who see this as a golden opportunity to acquire space they might not have dreamt of – who would have thought an 80,000 sq ft department store in south west London would be a “family entertainment centre”. I’m sure Gravity have learned from the previous incarnations, such as Dave n Busters, but they never had the chance to trade out of Wandsworth!

If the great British public still have the appetite to be entertained once all this is over, the leisure scheme/park of tomorrow may actually be an improvement on pre-COVID. Less “average” operators, peddling a poor quality offer to an ever discerning customer – several well-known restaurant brands spring to mind. From an investment point of view, in theory, only the best operators will have survived, probably on re-based/affordable rents, with even longer lease terms if the landlord and tenant have got their heads together.

Fingers crossed for a bumper H2 2021…..

Rosa’s Thai Cafe to make Midlands debut alongside Vinoteca and Dishoom

Victoria Broadhead

Rosa’s Thai Cafe will open its first Midlands restaurant at Paradise Birmingham later this year. The London-based company will launch its latest venue at Two Chamberlain Square. The 80-seat restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Rosa’s Thai Cafe chief executive Gavin Adair said: “The…

Honest Burger to open in Christopher Place, St Albans

Victoria Broadhead

Bruce Gillingham Pollard have secured “Great British Burger” restaurant Honest Burger at Christopher Place, St Albans. This is a fantastic addition to St Albans, where we have every confidence in their success. The scheme which already has Wagamamas is putting itself back on the map with the likes of The…

Diversity of Instructions

Emily Dumbell

One of the key strengths of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, is our range of clients and the diversity of the projects we work on. These instructions stretch from standalone shops and restaurant units, to large development projects nationwide. We work on established shopping centres, as well as successful Estates and our portfolio of projects stretch right the way from Zone 1 prime luxury districts, to market towns and key national cities such as Edinburgh and Cardiff.

This strength has become even more pronounced and relevant during the last 12 months, as many City Centres have seen the impact of office workers remaining at home and a lack of international tourists. In the meantime we have seen neighbourhood villages, market towns and out of town parks often thrive, as people are keen to eat and shop local. As a direct result of our range of instructions, we have been able to continue engagement access to the narrow band of tenants who remain active in the market and ensure there is cross fertilisation of ideas and relationships throughout our team which has benefited all of our instructions.

As we start the beginning of a New Year, we continue to see strong interest from tenants, looking to capitalise on the changes in consumer behaviour, with strong interest from food stores, fitness and wellness concepts and restaurants seeking to open in neighbourhood locations such as St Johns Wood, Dulwich Village, Queens Park, Ealing, Notting Hill and Brixton. One trend which has been interesting to observe, is the shift in locations being sought be restaurant operators. Many pre Covid wanted central West End locations, but have now reassessed their priorities and appreciate the relevance of residential deliveries and a local neighbourhood customer.

Our ability to reach potential tenants and share contacts and ideas across our team, is an important element of the success of our business and allows us to provide sound and relevant advice to both our leasing clients and our investment colleagues, allowing them to target locations which are vibrant and sustainable for the long term on behalf of  their investment clients.

Coqbull opened at Piccadilly Lights

Lucy Cope

Irish chicken and burger restaurant Coqbull, has made a permanent debut in London opening their flagship restaurant on 2nd December just off Piccadilly Circus in the former Jamie’s Italian. This will be the brands flagship restaurant with existing sites in Limerick, Cork and Castletroy. For further information please contact Lucy…

Trends 2021

Tracey Pollard

It was interesting to see Reiss announced they were starting to sell War Paint For Men. The make-up brand which challenges masculine stereotypes will offer its tinted moisturiser, primer, bronzer, concealer and beard and brow gel online and will have in store presence in 15 of Reiss’s UK stores and…

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are delighted to have advised an overseas client on the recent acquisition of HSBC in Lincoln

Jack Barratt

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are delighted to have advised an overseas client on the recent acquisition of HSBC in Lincoln.

It completes the acquisition of three HSBC banks from Aviva, alongside Kingston Upon Thames & Brighton, acquired separately over the past two years for overseas clients.

The property is let to HSBC Bank Plc for a further seven years with annual RPI reviews.

Great to work with Lottie Hayward & Andy Pointon once again at Allsop LLP who acted for the vendors.

Please contact Jack Barratt in our Investment Team for details on our overseas requirements.

The Permanent Benefits of Pop-Ups

Tracey Pollard

There is a great deal of  talk in our industry about pop-ups as it’s essential at this time of disruption to help landlords activate voids through securing short-term occupiers. We believe the secret to the success of a pop-up is targeting brands which fit within an existing mix and complement…

Change is afresh at St Christopher’s Place

Tracey Pollard

We are delighted that Flat Iron join the exciting restaurant line-up on James Street with their opening in November. Alongside their signature ‘Flat Iron’ steaks, which are known for their exceptional flavour and tenderness, they’ll be serving up two new specials. Plus, keep an eye out for their mini cleavers…

Welcoming Rixo to St John’s Wood High Street

Lucy Cope

It is great to welcome London based fashion label RIXO to St John’s Wood High Street this week who have opened a pop-up boutique for 12 months. The 500 sq ft unit will feature their first ever RIXO hand painted collection that was launched in 2015 to celebrate their 5th…

Bruce Gillingham Pollard announces its latest initiative – The launch of a bespoke Pop-Up team

Tracey Pollard

Lucy McGowan-Scanlon join’s Bruce Gillingham Pollard as Head of Pop-Ups after 2 years at Debenhams. Lucy worked on both long term leases and lead on all of their pop-up activity across 40 stores.  Projects included supporting on the introduction of Café de Pierre (Caffe Concerto) and working with Sweet Potato Spirit Company as they expanded from 5 to 25 pop-ups.

Lucy says “Pop-ups have never had more relevance on the high street than in the current climate as a means to drum up consumer interest, drive footfall and increase dwell time. It is an opportunity for up and coming brands to showcase themselves and given the rent terms, trial different markets and for Landlords to activate their spaces in a way that could rejuvenate the surrounding area. Consumers are now overly familiar with carbon copy high streets and this is the perfect way to create a feeling of change and newness. I am really excited to support our Landlords in a change of approach and look forward to working with the tenants to help bring awareness to and grow their brands”.

Lucy will work across our portfolio of estates and instructions, focusing primarily in London and the Home Counties, with a remit to expand nationally in 2021.

Managing Director Tracey Pollard says,

“Lucy’s retail background brings another dynamic to our business and her insight will be vital to the future success of this initiative. We have long been advocates of pop-ups, as they allow a landlord to test a sector or a potential brand, without full scale commitment from either party. This can create a point of difference and a renewed energy to a shopping destination.

In the current trading environment, pop-ups have never been so important to our clients but the economics of delivering pop up operators which also fit within a tenant mix strategy can be a challenge for agents. Therefore, we firmly believe a dedicated resource, sourcing targeted tenants for pop-up opportunities will prove a vital resource for our clients to navigate the new era of retail.“

Harry Cody-Owen joins BGP as Associate Director in the National Team

By Victoria Broadhead

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are pleased to announce the appointment of Harry Cody-Owen as Associate Director. Harry has specialised in F&B and Leisure for 6 years and joins from Lunson Mitchenall where he predominantly acted on behalf of Institutional Landlords. Having advised on Lakeside, Festival Place Basingstoke, Chapelfield Norwich, Eldon Square…

Breakthrough Brands – How to find the next big retailer!

By Evie North

Now the UK starts to transition out of lockdown, the retail, leisure and restaurant market is inevitably in a very different place as operators look at ways in which they can adapt to the ‘new normal’.  Some operators are geared up to implement change and modify their businesses to work…

Stockton Shopping Park – sold for £9.5million reflecting 9.4%

By Andrew McGregor

Invest in Out of Town Does the sale of Stockton Shopping Park mark a watershed for the Out of Town investment market? Sold this month for £9.5 million reflecting a net initial yield of 9.4%. This scheme has a WAULT of 6.5 years and an average rent of £7.56 psf.…


BGP are seeking an intern to join us for 6 weeks from 1st September 2020 to work within our leasing team.

We are interested to hear from candidates from any background and property experience is not necessary.

Key attributes required:

* Independent thought
* Strong communication skills
* Tenacity
* Passion for retail, fashion, food & leisure
* Determination

If you are or know of anyone interested please forward your CV and covering letter to layla@brucegillinghampollard by Monday 17th August.

The Rise of Community Spirit and how Independent Retailers have reacted…

Lucy Cope

“A renewed sense of community is welcomed news for independent businesses, with a growing desire to support local stores in life after lockdown.” (Source: Food Manufacture Online) The world as we know it has come to a halt and each and every one of us has been forced to adapt…

London’s new generation venues – more than just a music space?

by Dominic Tixerant

London’s night-time economy is estimated to bring up to £26billion into the UK economy this year – but it is undergoing drastic changes. Music venues and nightclubs, often the heart of communities and catalysts for culture and creativity, are facing unprecedented challenges, driven by urban redevelopment and the associated planning…

Otium Leisure acquire Robin Leisure Park in Wigan

The UK's first leisure park investment sale of 2020
by Rosie Higgins

Advised by our investment team, Otium Real Estate has purchased Robin Leisure Park in Wigan from a fund managed by CBRE Global Investors. The purchase was made at a price of £12.48m reflecting a yield of 8.3% off a net rental income of £1.107m per annum.

The property extends to 96,163 sq ft and accommodates Wigan’s only multiplex cinema and a range of tenants including Empire cinema, JD Gym, Buzz bingo, Pizza Hut and Frankie and Benny’s. Adjacent to the DW stadium, the park sits on an 18.4-acre freehold site with nearly a 1,000 surface car park spaces.

Ashley Blake of Otium said,

“We are delighted to add this leisure park to the Fund’s portfolio.  Its tenant line-up and location are established, showing us that the scheme still has significant potential for growth – we will be working closely with the tenants to enhance the park further.  From this strong start to the year we are keen to acquire further leisure assets during 2020.”

Andrew McGregor, Head of Investment, who advised Otium said:

“It is always a pleasure to act for Otium and this is an ideal asset for their requirements, with a strong line up as well as scope for asset management.”

The vendor, CBRE Global Investors was advised by Montagu Evans. For more information on Otium’s requirements or on this transaction, please speak to Andrew Mcgregor.

10 questions landlords should be asking about sustainability

by Tracey Pollard

A recent study by Retail Week revealed that 62% of consumers say it is important to shop with brands with sustainable credentials. With younger generations particularly, and rightfully, gripped by the ‘climate crisis’, this proportion is only set to increase. Accordingly, if landlords wish to ensure their retail destinations remain relevant to…

BGP appointed on Edinburgh St James

by Rosie Higgins

We have been appointed to the leasing team for Edinburgh St James, the £1bn mixed-use development in the city centre. We will be acting jointly on the scheme with existing agents P-Three, Culverwell and CWM. Located in the east end of the city, the development is one of the UK’s…

BGP appoint ed on TFL’s Wood Lane Arches

We are instructed to lease 11 arches to retail and leisure operators from the first phase to be transformed.

by Rosie Higgins

The arches are part of TFL’s wider regeneration of 31 arches in the area for eating, socialising, shopping and working, as well improving connectivity. The site sits at the heart of the development between Westfield London and St. James’s White City Living, as well as nearby to Stanhope & Mitsui’s…

Endo at the Rotunda is awarded a Michelin Star

Endo at the Rotunda is a 16-seat restaurant located at the top of the landmark Television Centre, taking its name from the location and the internationally reknown Kazutoshi.
by Rosie Higgins

We were very pleased to see an emotional Endo Kazutoshi collect his first (of many, we suspect) Michelin star for Endo at the Rotunda at Television Centre at White City. Millie Edwards in our leasing team acted for the landlord of Television Centre, Stanhope & Mitsui on the letting which underpins the premium reinvention of White City as a destination.

Endo at the Rotunda is a 16-seat restaurant located at the top of the landmark Television Centre, taking its name from the location and the internationally renown Kazutoshi. All 16 guests sit at a wooden counter fashioned from 200 year old hinoki wood, in front of the chef’s preparation table under swathes of ethereal cloud-like fabric. This is a dining experience like no other – offering direct interaction with the chefs preparing authentic Omakase style cuisine. The attention to detail and authenticity is so precise that reportedly water used for the Yamagata rice  is shipped in from Endo’s hometown, and a third-generation soya recipe feeds both the multi-course Omakase menus and edamame a la carte selection.

In his March 2019 review, The Times’ food critic Giles Coren called his experience: ‘Probably the most perfect meal I have eaten in a restaurant in 20 years’. We are delighted that the Michelin judges feel the same and offer our congratulations to Endo Kazutoshi and the rest of the team.

Karavan, Budapest

Simple food court concept with international cuisine in the Hungarian capital

by Harry Atcherley-Symes

Mowgli Street Food opens on Church Street, Cardiff

BGP acted on behalf of the landlord, Hermes Investment Management.

by Rosie Higgins

This is Mowgli’s eighth restaurant having opened their first site in 2014 on Bold Street in Liverpool. Since then, former barrister and now TV personality, Nisha Katona has opened in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Nottingham, with this unit their first site in Wales. The menus are designed to emulate authentic…

The Hut at Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

A simple beach restaurant with fresh seafood and views across the bay

by Tracey Pollard

High quality, British seafront restaurants are growing in popularity and notoriety and over the last few years we have written about Harry’s Shack in Portstewart and South Milton Sands in Devon. It is easy to see the appeal: these are simple, beach venues serving fresh and seasonal ingredients with views…

Arcade Food Theatre opens at Centrepoint

Acting on behalf of the vendor, Ballymore, we have completed on the investment sale of the Sainsburys Local at Royal Wharf in Newham.

by Rosie Higgins

Following a series of soft launches last week, today Arcade Food Theatre at Centre Point opens its doors to the general public. Whilst Londoners have become familiar with the food hall format, Arcade Food Theatre adds another level to this booming sector. We were delighted to have acted for the…

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