New owners of Sailmakers pledge to 'revive' Ipswich shopping centre

Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich

The Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich has been sold - Credit: Su Anderson

The Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich has been sold to new owners who plan to support the town on its "road to recovery".

ALB Group, a property firm with shopping centres in Birkenhead, Stoke-on-Trent, Huddersfield, Derby and Nottingham, has completed its purchase of the Tavern Street complex.

Sailmakers, which was known as Tower Ramparts until 2014, is home to brands such as Boots, HMV, River Island, Poundland and Baldwins department store.

However, a quarter of the retail space is currently vacant – including the former Topshop and Topman units.

Topshop Ipswich

Topshop and Topman have closed in the Ipswich shopping centre - Credit: Gemma Jarvis

ALB has not disclosed how much it paid for the shopping centre.

Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said: "We are determined to rethink the way high streets are managed and offer these important community centres the chance of revival. 

"Sailmakers represents a significant acquisition for ALB, and we can’t wait to support Ipswich along its road to recovery."

Commercial agents Prime Retail and FHP worked with ALB on its acquisition of the shopping centre.

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Tim Lloyd, partner at Prime Retail, said: "I’m excited to be working alongside a company as forward-thinking and hands-on as ALB Group.

"Sailmakers has been in desperate need of new owners for some time and, as a resident of Ipswich myself, I see true potential here.

"If we can target independent and local operators, and offer flexibility with low costs on units that are ready for immediate occupation, we will help to begin the revival. 

"In view of what ALB Group has already achieved elsewhere in the UK, Sailmakers couldn’t be in better hands."

Oliver Marshall, associate director of FHP, added: "Sailmakers ticks all the boxes in terms of opportunity. It already has some great tenants, and we are looking to build on that. 

"We’re taking a fresh approach to the marketing, and we’re happy to discuss all active interests. The key here is flexibility, which many other high street landlords have failed to offer previously."