Friday, August 12, 2022

2022 Business Predictions: Frankie Labbate, director at Box Property

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. 

It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

Here we speak to Frankie Labbate, director at Box Property.

We will unfortunately see the fallout from the pandemic of the previous two years continue with the end to the rent moratorium looming large on the not-so-distant horizon. Rental values and lease arrangements have changed and will continue to have more emphasis on flexibility. Occupancy rates for commercial property will see some fluctuation with new models of hybrid working becoming the norm. And, the shift in retail habits towards online presents ongoing challenges for retailers.

However, this also brings a real opportunity for local independent retailers and agile businesses. Areas of Nottingham such as Bridlesmith Gate and Exchange Arcade that have lacked footfall and failed to meet customer demand, now provide an opportunity for local landlords to reimagine the high street. There’s a real appetite to introduce a new demographic of customers, wanting a memorable retail experience and with the right blend of new brands, high street names and independent outlets.

We predicted a few years ago that Hockley would flourish, with national operators appearing alongside successful independents and have worked hard to make that happen. Box Property has delivered on this prediction concluding new lettings to Pho, The Fat Hippo, The Bakehouse and various others. This will continue with Hockley extending further into Sneinton Market, creating a thriving hub of arts, indie retail and hospitality, with a similar vibe to Bristol’s Clifton Triangle and Bold Street in Liverpool.

Hockley is thriving, and will remain so, but my tip is to watch out for Sneinton Market. I think it has the potential and the space, both indoor and outdoor, to replicate the successes of Hockley and I envisage positive momentum leading to national interest and lettings.

Some of the larger chain restaurants will struggle with some high-profile administrations and closures as customers’ expectations have increased. They now want the authentic product and experience the smaller operators are delivering. It’s all about the small plates and street food served with authenticity, passion and pride. We have amazing independent operators in our city which would trade well in any major UK city.

Broadmarsh will continue to be a hot potato but, one thing is for sure, the site provides the city with a once in a lifetime opportunity to DELIVER an environment and solution which is going to be highly influential in shaping the future success of the city centre’s retail and leisure market/shopping experience.

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