Award-winning design retailer, Utility, is to open its first store in Manchester at University Green, the new retail and leisure development by leading regional property company Bruntwood and the University of Manchester.
Utility, which has three stores in Liverpool, sells gifts, watches, jewellery and home accessories and has won multiple awards, including: The Daily Telegraph Magazine Award, Best Small Shops in Britain Award – Interiors; and Retail Week Enterprise Awards – Independent Retailer of the Year Award.
University Green is situated in a key growth area within the Oxford Road Corridor area of Manchester near to major institutions, research facilities and technological and cultural assets including Manchester Science Partnerships. It sits directly underneath the University’s Alliance Manchester Business School and forms part of the University’s £1 billion Campus Masterplan and redevelopment. University Green is scheduled to complete this summer and will provide 40,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space across 12 units, each with double-height glazed frontages.
Utility joins the line up alongside previously announced academic and general bookshop, Blackwell’s; artisan coffee house, Takk; restaurant and bar, Loungers; authentic American burger brand, Five Guys; Co-op Food; and international sandwich shop chain, Pret A Manger.
Since its launch in 1999, Utility has established itself as the go-to place in the North West for some of the most exciting brands in the world, from contemporary head-turners to iconic mid-20th century designs.
Dick Mawdsley, co-founder and Finance & Property Director at Utility, said: “Opening our first store in Manchester is a natural progression for us and it’s very exciting because previously we have failed to find the right site. Oxford Road Corridor is the perfect location for us given the large working and student populations and we will also be co-located with some other great brands at University Green.
“Even though we are a Liverpool-based business we have a lot of customers in Manchester who travel, as well as shop through our website, and our plan now will be to follow up quickly with another store elsewhere in the city.”
Toby Sproll, Head of Retail and Leisure at Bruntwood, said: “Utility is a stellar signing for University Green and we are thrilled that they want to be part of what we are creating here.
Our aim has always been to create an exciting mix of retail and leisure for the significant population that work, study and live in Oxford Road Corridor and Utility is a great addition to the line-up of brands already signed up.”
Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities at The University of Manchester, said: “This is another significant milestone for University Green with eight units now exchanged, two under offer (soon to be announced) and lots of interest in the remaining two. The site is now shaping up to be a compelling destination full of choice for students, staff and residents.”
Bruntwood and The University of Manchester’s £50 million Oxford Road regeneration project also includes public realm improvements alongside the newly enhanced and extended 350,000 sq ft Alliance Manchester Business School.
Complementing the redevelopment of University Green will be a 210-bed Crowne Plaza Hotel and 116-room Staybridge Suites, both opening soon. More than 60,000 people are currently employed in the area and this number is expected to grow to more than 75,000 by 2020.
Metis Real Estate Advisors represented Bruntwood. Utility represented themselves.