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LONDON-Overton Developments and Helical Retail have completed the purchase of 56-76 Commercial Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, from the Equitable Life Assurance Society for £20 million ($33 million).

Commercial Road is one of Bournemouth’s best retail locations and Overton expects to submit a planning application shortly for 50,000 sf of retail floor space, providing floorplates of between 4,000 and 20,000 sf.

There is good demand for this size of floorplate, which previously has not been available in Bournemouth, according to Overton director Paul Horner : “We are proposing a landmark building with full height glazing and two trading floors,” he said. “Hennes; French Connection; Next; Zara; Bay Trading; Karen Millen; HMV; Sports Soccer and many more retailers have requirements and Overton is intending to commence development as soon as possible, but probably in the spring of next year.”

Phillips Wilks acted for the purchaser. Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker; Green & Partners and Insight Investment acted for the vendor.

The Bournemouth site in is the second major acquisition by the Overton and Helical Retail joint venture in the last six months. In Nottingham the partners bought the 2.5-acre Trinity Square development site next to the Victoria Centre and they have drawn up plans for a 250,000-sf retail and leisure scheme which will probably be the largest retail development proposal to come on stream in the UK in 2004. Planning permission is expected later this month. All of the retail and leisure space is currently under offer or in active discussion with Borders; Daisy & Tom; Urban Outfitters; Mexx and London Clubs International on the southern block, with competition on the northern block from TK Maxx and other food and fashion retailers.

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