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Developer celebrates filling empty shops in bid to make high street ‘cool’ again

Developer celebrates filling empty shops in bid to make high street ‘cool’ again

A developer credited with helping to save part of a city centre from dying out has managed to fill all of its vacant units - with exciting retailers about to set up shop.

ALB Group boldly set out to make Derby city centre “cool again” by buying up empty premises and renting them out to independent retailers.

Just three months later, ALB - which bid to bring a feel of London’s successful Carnaby Street to Derby, similar to its scheme in Nottingham city centre - has now fully let all of the premises, with all leases signed.

Marketing experts have applauded ALB’s success story in being able to attract top names to the area in a matter of just a few months - a feat rarely heard of in the retail world.

The company acquired seven buildings in Derby’s Albion Street and East Street, with a view to breathing new life into the struggling city centre.

Companies which have snapped up the opportunity to move into this part of Derby include specialty coffee shop The Barista Lab, Hatchet Harry's axe-throwing venue -  both of which have taken up some of ALB’s Nottingham premises - and lifestyle fitness boutique Pace taking over the former EE store.

The team have also purchased upper floors of 1 Albion Street, which they are going to convert to apartments, having received planning permission earlier this month.

Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said:

“Some people might have said we were setting our ambitions too high, but we are proud to say we have done what we set out to do - to attract fresh, independent names to Derby’s high street.

“We’re delighted to have been able to facilitate a revitalised shopping environment that people want to visit.”

The developer also owns the building formerly occupied by the Burton menswear store on the corner of Victoria Street and St Peter’s Street and Boo., which adds a modern twist to the classic American burger and has other branches across the Midlands and Manchester, has exchanged contracts.

Meanwhile, in Albion Street, Hatchet Harry’s will move into the old card shop, and next door, the former Goldsmith’s store will be let to Barista Lab, which is also taking up one of ALB’s Nottingham units.

The old Gap unit is still being marketed, but has received lots of interest, and there is currently a temporary tenant on the premises.

The other two units on the block of six are still home to The Sweet Emporium and The Olive Tree.

The exchanges were made possible thanks to property consultants FHP.

Estée Coulthard-Boardman, surveyor with FHP, has been instrumental in attracting the big names to the units, as marketing agent on behalf of ALB.

She said:

“It has been a pleasure working with ALB Group on the letting of these units and I am really pleased to have been involved. 

“They are a proactive landlord who have been willing to reduce rents to allow local businesses the opportunity of a high street unit and help revitalise the city centre. 

“To have achieved two lettings and have another unit under offer in just a couple of months of bringing the properties to market is fantastic. 

“Albion Street has really struggled with vacancies in the past few years so this is a big news story for Derby, and I am hopeful this activity will encourage other occupiers to the high street.”

To find out more about the scheme, visit

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