Ripon’s main post office is relocating to the city’s popular arcade, which is currently undergoing a £100,000 refurbishment.
The new-look post office will open in the arcade in late September, with the current premises in Finkle Street closing earlier in the month.
Leading Bradford-based property development and investment company Frank Marshall Estates bought the 16,484 sq ft, multi-let arcade off a guide price of £2.2m from the Westcourt Group in April last year.
Edward Marshall, director of Frank Marshall Estates, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic deal for everyone concerned. The arcade, which links the city’s main car park to the historic Market Square, is a fabulous new location for the post office. It is the beating heart of the city, with a really strong and consistent footfall.
“Work is now almost completed on the comprehensive refurbishment and re-branding of the arcade and we are busy preparing the post office’s new state-of-the-art 1,000 sq ft unit, which was previously vacant, for occupation.
“It gives us great pleasure to welcome Amy Kaur, the owner of the post office, to the arcade. This move achieves our aim of giving the arcade a new identity and make it much more visible and more of an attraction from the Market Square side in particular. Ripon is a sleeping giant and we believe our attractive, new-look development will give the city centre the game-changing regeneration boost it needs.”
The post office in Finkle Street will close on Wednesday September 16, with the new post office opening in the arcade on Monday September 28. There will be a mobile post office van outside Finkle Street in the meantime.
Amy Kaur said: “We have been at Finkle Street for the past seven years. The big drawback there was that there was no disabled access, which is one major reason why we are so excited about our move.
“We can’t wait to move into our magnificent new premises in the arcade, where our customers will find all the services that we offered before. The footfall in the arcade will benefit us, while our presence there should also help all the other occupiers, too.
“Edward Marshall has been most supportive, helping to create the perfect unit for us. Overall, we are very positive about our relocation which we believe is definitely right for us – and for the city of Ripon.”
The main contractors for this project are Bradford-based Percy Pickard Contractors, overseeing Bagnalls Painters of Shipley, Bentham Fabrications, Leading Edge Signs, Graphics and Wall nuts. The new branding has been created by Lois Iredale of Lois Creative.
The development, which faces the Market Square, has 15 units currently occupied by North Yorkshire County Council and retailers such as Scriven Opticians, Home Bargains, the British Heart Foundation, Blue Cross, Westwood’s Barbershop and Social, Caffe Tempo, PR Books, Fultons Foods and Card Factory.
There is one empty 800 sq ft unit currently but Edward Marshall is confident that the post office move will lead to increased occupier interest in the arcade.
He said: “In a time of panic in the retail sector, the arcade represents a gem in a sea of rotten apples. As an industrial specialist, in order to maintain our yield profile, we must look to less fashionable assets where there is plenty of growth. Ripon is a thriving city and we look forward to contributing to its growth and development.
“We have great faith in the city. More affluent people are moving into the area with lots of housing to be built over the next few years and plenty going on in the area, for example, the superb new hotel, Grantley Hall. The great rural location is also a superb asset.”
The Leeds office of Schofield Sweeney provided legal advice on this deal for Frank Marshall Estates, while Andrew Hutchinson of Ripon law firm Hutchinson Buchanan advised Ripon Post Office.