'It feels like a new beginning' - Bid to bring buzz back to historic shopping arcade
PUBLISHED: 16:12 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:12 16 January 2020
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The new owners of a historic shopping arcade say they have slashed rents and are redoubling efforts to get the boutique property fully let.
Victoria Arcade, in Great Yarmouth, is part of a property portfolio owned by Birmingham-based HIS investments which bought the centre in 2017 but is now in new hands.
The company says it is keen to bring back the buzz at the retail hub where only around half the 34 units are occupied.
Manager Sohail Ahmed said rents were now standing at around half what they were under the previous owners with some of the units free from business rates too.
And in a bid to attract new tenants he said they were trying to connect with new businesses and start-ups through networking events and Enterprise GY to create a hub for entrepreneurs.
Mr Ahmed said he saw great potential in the mall, which opened in 1925 as Central Arcade.
Although it had struggled in recent years he hoped the lower rents would be an incentive.
"Retail is struggling at the moment anyway," he said.
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"We are trying to get it full and trying to get successful businesses in there.
"We have to talk to people to make them consider Victoria Arcade as a destination.
"It has great potential for business if it's fully let. Looking around the town it is struggling, but the arcade is a lot cheaper and some units are free of business rates.
"If you look at it compared to Birmingham it's a very good investment. It looks like value for money, and a good business opportunity if it works."
Trevor Saunders whose community interest company Mandalay Wellbeing is based in the arcade said he was fully behind the push and happy to help where he could.
Fuelled by fond memories of a 1980's heyday, he said he would like to see local companies give it a go.
"There are so many people that start businesses," he said. "I remember when it was packed. Now we have new owners and new opportunities.
"It feels like a new beginning."
To find out more contact Mr Ahmed via HISinvestments786@gmail.com