MAJOR high street names have been given the green light to move into the city’s newest retail park.
Dignitaries gathered this morning as construction firm Simons Group officially handed the £16.2m Portsmouth Retail Park over to its owner, Portsmouth City Council.
Work on the Binnacle Way hub – which is opposite Tesco North Harbour and will house eight shopping and food outlets and a gym – began in April last year.
Now fully let, businesses will file into the site over the coming months.
One of the brands set to call the location home is bakery chain Greggs.
Martin Lee, the company’s senior shopfitting project manager for the south east, said: ‘We’re really excited to move into this new retail park.
‘We’re more than a walk-in high street bakery now and this new home – with plenty of space and seating – will help us change people’s perception of Greggs.’
Extending their city portfolio, Pure Gym will also move in.
Sam Porter manages the firm’s Arundel Street branch, which boasts about 5,000 members.
Set to lead the Portsmouth Retail Park unit too, he said: ‘This is a really nice big and brand new building and I can’t wait to fill it with people.
‘It’ll be packed with state-of-the-art equipment, a big functional area, a weights room and a virtual studio too.’
The park’s seven other tenants are Decathlon, Subway, Costa, Home Bargains, Jolleyes pet superstore, Explore Learning and The Vet.
As the 11th site in the council’s property investment portfolio, it will bring the authority £1m a year in rent.
This cash, bosses say, will go toward maintaining city services.
Conservative council leader Cllr Donna Jones, said: ‘This handover is fantastic for the city of Portsmouth and its citizens.
‘This scheme means we can commit to weekly bin collections, we can keep all the libraries open and it means we can protect the school crossing patrols – all the things people really care about.’
In total, the council’s property investment portfolio generates £6.6m each year for council services.
These also include the running of museums, homelessness initiatives and community wardens.
Leaders say more purchases like Portsmouth Retail Park are set to be made in the coming months.
Simons Group chief executive, Tom Robinson, said: ‘We’re very proud of this project and delighted to hand it over to the council on time and within budget.
‘We wish the council and all of the tenants much success for the future and hope this new addition to the city will be both profitable for stakeholders and an enjoyable experience for the residents of Portsmouth.’