SandpiperCI acquires Liberty Wharf Shopping Centre

21 March 2018

SandpiperCI has announced it has purchased Jersey’s only covered Shopping Centre, Liberty Wharf. The 58,000 sq ft shopping centre is set in a unique historic building at the gateway to St Helier sited between the Waterfront and the traditional heart of St Helier.

Formerly St Helier’s railway station, Jersey’s tourism office and historic abattoir, the granite buildings with cobbled streets were converted into a shopping centre in spring 2010.

Sandpiper’s Costa Coffee and Cornish Bakery franchises, together with a Marks and Spencer Home store were the original anchor tenants, followed by Asda’s George, a range of independent clothes shops, interior design shops, a bistro, pub, arts and gift shops. More recently, Sandpiper has also opened bespoke menswear shop Moss Bros and a Marks and Spencer Food Hall.

Sandpiper’s CEO Tony O’Neill commented: “We have always viewed Liberty Wharf as the potential jewel in St Helier’s retail crown. We were founding tenants with several businesses from the early days so believe we are well placed to understand what actions need to be taken to improve the draw and attractiveness of the centre and increase footfall for all Liberty Wharf’s tenants.

“As our largest single acquisition to date, Liberty Wharf may be viewed as a significant vote of confidence in the future of retail within Jersey by Sandpiper. However, had we known Jersey’s Treasury Minister was intending to introduce a 20 per cent retail tax, it is unlikely we would have completed the purchase were we not already committed. As the largest retail employer in the island, we were astonished that no consultations have ever taken place with our company prior to the introduction of this tax, hence we would question whether States Members were aware of all the facts when they voted to introduce this economically damaging tax, particularly after being told that major retailers had been consulted. As a result of this tax, we have cancelled two capital projects and will only proceed with one other project which has been renegotiated resulting in less investment into the island and less job creation.” 

Tony O’Neill concluded: “However, despite the recent disappointing States’ decision, we are looking towards the shopping centre’s future and believe we can considerably raise shoppers’ experience by attracting new tenants, creating an enhanced retail mix of quality stores and improving the appeal of Liberty Wharf to make it one of the Island’s key shopping destinations for locals and visitors.”

The covered shopping centre is open seven days a week and greets shoppers until 6pm, diners until 10pm and nightclub party goers until the early hours.

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