A bigger foodstore and more national chains are among plans to boost a South Tyneside shopping centre
Bosses at the centre, which was renamed the Mountbatten Shopping Centre when new owners took charge in 2016, hope to take advantage of new homes planned for the area.
But they have also highlighted the problems facing the site, in Station Road, and retailers across the country.
“We’re working very closely with the council and you’ve seen how much we’ve spent since we bought it in June 2016,” said Kourosh Manoucheri, managing director at KSM Associates, one of the firms behind the centre’s takeover.
“We’re working to bring new tenants in and we’re in discussions with Heron Foods to move into the three empty units and I’m also talking to someone interested in taking over the parts Heron will vacate.
“After this I think we will have just a few empty units and, considering the amount of houses being built in the area, it will be more appropriate to accommodate the needs of the area.”
Mr Manoucheri was speaking at the latest meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF).
According to an update, negotiations are ongoing with ‘one or two other national companies’ interested in moving to the site.
But Mr Manoucheri added there was a ‘Catch 22’ for businesses who want to see other firms moving in before they agree to commit themselves.
He revealed rents have been dropped to try and provide extra incentive for potential newcomers, although conceded more recognisable names were needed to attract more customers.
The possible addition of a creche or nursery for children was also hinted at.
He said: “In order to increase the footfall we have got to bring the national and bigger shops in.
“We’ve seen how the area has improved since Aldi moved in and that has encouraged Heron to try and move to a bigger unit.”
Heron Foods has been contacted for comment.