case study

The Morgan Quarter, Cardiff

Overview of property

Helical Bar purchased the property in 2005 when the department store, David Morgan & Co, sold their business. It was purchased as a 225,000 sq. ft. vacant department store with part-let listed Victorian Arcades. This beautiful and historic corner of Cardiff has been thoughtfully restored and reconfigured to meet modern shopping trends whilst retaining the tradition of arcade shopping.  Fifty-six residential apartments have also been created on the upper floors. Over the last two years, the fallow areas of the old store have been converted into modern office accommodation known as the Creative Quarter.  It is now a 395,000 sq. ft. mixed use scheme and Helical’s only shopping centre complex.

 Ashdown Phillips' Objectives

  • Manage the scheme from purchase and through an extensive rebuild and renovation programme
  • Build relationships with retailers, apartment leaseholders and more recently office tenants
  • Blend the tenant mix to suit modern shoppers, whilst retaining the history and heritage of the arcades
  • Create an effective service charge for the whole scheme encompassing retail, residential and the new office elements and most recently, the new Morgan Quarter

How we achieved it

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New glass roof installed, frontage painted, new signage throughout, new entrance lighting has been trialled, the residential apartment windows have been refurbished as well as extensive refurbishment of previously untouched fallow areas into cool contemporary office accommodation whilst maintaining the integrity of the Victorian Architecture.

Ashdown Phillips have a very strong management team based at the Morgan Quarter and in London.  During the initial rebuilding phase and the more recent refurbishment phase, the onsite management team worked closely with the Design team, as well as contractors and tenants to ensure that the disruption was minimal while the extensive renovations were completed.  The surveying team worked in partnership with our client to ensure that retailers and leaseholders were kept informed on progress. 

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The Royal and Morgan arcades

Ashdown Phillips has also worked closely with the landlord and their wider team of professionals over the past 10 years to create a strong retail brand and tenant mix.  The major ground floor retail units, which front The Hayes and are situated opposite the new St David's 2 shopping centre, have been created to attract prime retailers such as Jack Wills, White Stuff, Fred Perry and Moulton Brown.

The two listed Victorian arcades (Morgan and Royal Arcades) have been carefully restored to create a stylish and appealing path from Cardiff Central Station to the new shopping centre.  Both arcades have their own characters, and the tenant mix has been carefully judged to enhance these; Royal Arcade is quirky and alternative, specialising in independents such as Wally's Delicatessen, Rossiters and The Pen & Paper.  Morgan Arcade leans towards luxury retailers, such as Bang and Olufsen, Watches of Wales and Pretty Green.  

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Mixed-use scheme, blending traditional and modern shopping, apartment living and creative office accommodation. 

Ashdown Phillips has modernised the service charge and worked to update leases as they are renewed and re-negotiated.  The mixed-use scheme has complex service charge arrangements and therefore our client requires a deep understanding of service charge practice and a practical, skilled approach to modernising historic leases.  The result: a streamlined and effective mixed-use service charge, which reduces client shortfalls and voids and serves the needs of retail, commercial office and apartment leaseholders. 

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The Morgan Quarter is home to an eclectic mix of retailers.

The Creative Quater

The Creative Quarter Hub is a communal space for all the tenants to use, either for a break from their desks, for informal meetings or to catch up with colleagues and other tenants.

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Ashdown Phillips has modernised the service charge and worked to update leases as they are renewed and re-negotiated.  The mixed-use scheme has complex service charge arrangements and therefore our client requires a deep understanding of service charge practice and a practical, skilled approach to modernising historic leases.  The result: a streamlined and effective mixed-use service charge, which reduces client shortfalls and voids and serves the needs of retail, commercial office and apartment leaseholders.