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Co-op Becomes First Retail Tenant at Exchange Square

Nikal has secured a 15-year lease with leading retailer, The Co-operative Group, for a 4,000 sq ft convenience store at its Exchange Square development in Birmingham.

Set to open this Summer, the store will enjoy a high-profile position on the corner of busy Moor Street Queensway and James Watt Queensway and is part of Exchange Square 1’s prominent 35,000 sq ft retail and leisure offering that also encompasses high profile units on Dale End.

As well as attracting custom from neighbouring offices and universities, the new Co-op store will be perfectly placed to capitalise on passing footfall from travellers utilising the forthcoming HS2 terminal at Curzon Street, the main entrance of which will be directly opposite the development.

Exchange Square itself will also offer opportunities for regular trade. Upon completion of Phase 2, scheduled for Summer 2023, the development will be home to 978 apartments and a 235-bed Premier Inn Hotel. Nikal’s inaugural Birmingham scheme, Masshouse Plaza, is just two minutes’ walk away adding a further 350 households to the store’s catchment area.

The new Co-op, which will run on 100% renewable energy, will offer a wide range of fresh and healthy produce and a focus on food-to-go, ready meals, pizzas, Fairtrade, free-from and vegan products, and everyday essentials. 

The community focused retailer also provides a funding boost locally and unlocks additional value with its Membership scheme available to shoppers at the new Exchange Square store. Co-op credits the customer’s membership cards with 2p in every pound spent on own brand products, and donates the same amount to causes in the local community. The large student population in the area will also benefit from the new store’s arrival; those holding valid TOTUM cards, formerly known as NUS extra, pocket a 10% discount off their groceries at the Co-op.

Usman Sheikh, Co-op Acquisition Manager, West Midlands, says, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop a new convenience store which forms part of the ongoing regeneration of the upper East side of Birmingham. With its location close to the university, colleges and transport hubs at the corner of Moor Street Queensway and James Watt Queensway, it made Exchange Square an ideal location to support our ambition to connect communities and operate at the heart of local life – we are looking forward to developing the range, choice, products and services locally that will create a really compelling offer.”  

The remaining leisure and retail units within Exchange Square 1 have permission for restaurants and retail uses and include a 2,000sq ft first floor unit with floor to ceiling windows perfect for a prestigious healthcare practitioner, entrepreneurial business HQ or lifestyle retailer.  A further 7,500 sq ft of leisure and retail accommodation will also be delivered as part of Phase 2, some of which will front a new public square. 

Says Nikal Development Director, Darren Jones, “It is good news to have the Co-op on board as the first retail tenant at Exchange Square. They have been following our scheme for some time and it is a brand renown for offering a range of high-quality produce and for its community values. We’re working with a number of other retail businesses to finalise lease agreements and hope to have further good news to announce in the coming weeks. The remaining units are being marketed by Rapleys and CBRE.”

Says Alfred Bartlett, Head of Retail and Leisure at Rapleys, “We were aware of Nikal’s reputation for progressive place making and admired their mixed-use schemes in the north. We’re proud to act for them on this scheme and delighted to have brought the Co-op on board. We felt it was the right first step in satisfying local demand and fits perfectly with the next phase of lettings, currently in solicitors’ hands, that will contribute to the creation of a fresh and vibrant new lifestyle destination.”