St Albans

The High Street throughout the UK is in a state of major flux, with a boom in online retailing fundamentally changing shopping habits and causing the demise of many major retail chains and many more to close numerous shops. This is leaving a huge amount of vacant space, often in excellent, prime town and city centre locations.

In each target area, where Travelodge wishes to open a new hotel, we assess the optimal location to do so for our customers. In some places, an edge-of-centre or an out-of-town location will be best, providing hotels that are easy to find and access, with good on-site parking and well-located for the nearby demand drivers. However, in towns and cities that attract a significant number of leisure and business visitors to their centres, a new Travelodge in the heart of these towns is often our preference.

We have recently taken advantage of the changing shape of the High Street to open new Travelodges in prime locations in the historic centres of Winchester, occupying the site of the former Next unit, and St Albans, occupying the site of the former BHS store.

  • Town Centre Department Store Redevelopment 
  • Previously owned by Arcadia and formerly trading as BHS St Albans 
  • Scheme comprised demolition of former department store and construction of new hotel, with two ground floor units for retail/bar/restaurant use
  • Travelodge PLUS with Bar Cafe
  • No on site car parking. MSCP immediately behind hotel

The St Albans deal is a great example of a town centre redevelopment of a closed department store, with a pre-let to Travelodge and a ground floor unit to Youngs, which enabled a forward sale of the created investment to a pension fund.  

This new build, 130-room Travelodge Plus hotel, with Bar Cafe and Super Rooms, opened at Easter 2021 and is located in the prime, central retail pitch in the heart of this historic Cathedral City. Travelodge St Albans fulfils a long-standing new opening requirement for the company and is a great location for both leisure and business customers, with its proximity to the M25, excellent central retail and food and beverage amenities and the city’s fast, direct rail connections to Central London. 

The development comprises a Travelodge on a brand new, 35-year lease term, that includes a ground floor Bar Cafe and a dedicated floor of Super Rooms. Watch the video below to take a virtual tour of the new hotel to see the new room styles on offer. 

The development also includes a 6,000 sq.ft unit on the ground floor that has been let on a 20-year lease to Young’s Brewery as a brand new gastropub called “Albans Well”. The new pub opened for trading in May 2021 and includes a 62-cover outdoor terrace. The remaining ground floor unit is now under offer to a national pizza restaurant operator. Discounted customer parking is available at the adjacent NCP car park that is open 24/7.  

The development was delivered by Reef Estates, who acquired the property from Arcadia and then ran the lengthy planning process with the Local Planning Authority. Following the grant of planning consent, London Pension Fund Authority, managed by Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM), then forward funded the development of the site and paid a total of £24.425 million for the completed asset, reflecting a blended net initial yield of 4.38%.

For more information about this transaction, please speak to John Hardy, our Development Manager for this transaction, on 07767 768 949.

Our Winchester hotel is another great example of a redevelopment of High Street retail, with the former Next department store being demolished and turned into a new Travelodge hotel above new ground floor retail: