Developers have almost completed work on opening a new Lane in Brighton, with retailers getting ready to open their stores next month.
The development has been taking place on Hanningtons Estate, an area that once held Hanningtons department store which was once a prominent retail destination, commonly known as ‘The Harrods of Brighton’. The area links The Lanes, North Laine, East Street and the quarter leading to Brighton beach. A new Lane is being made here, alongside the redevelopment of existing buildings, to create spaces for shops and restaurants. Stores have already started setting up on North Street, and the new Lane is set to open in April.
Hanningtons department store was founded by the Brighton-based Hannington family in 1808 and remained in their ownership until the 1960s. It was known as the heart of Brighton’s shopping scene for over two hundred years. However, changing times – through the increase of competition from out of town-center shopping centers and the opening of Churchill Square – meant that the estate was eventually sold for £23.5 million in 2000. Many staff had employed at Hanningtons for their entire working careers and were solemn about the closure.
Since 2001 there had been a ‘big hole’ where the department store used to be, with shops remaining closed for almost 20 years. A local resident described this area as “an unused waste of land, nothing more than an area for bins and some cars”
When Regina Estates bought the premises in 2001, they received planning permission to divide the building into smaller shops. Since then, Redevco has been developing the 1.3 acre site, which includes the creation of a new Lane.
Developers are looking for new companies to lease the shops and are hoping that this will be a good opportunity for independents from London to open up their first Brighton stores. It will feature 13 retail units, alongside offices and residential space. Kurt Geiger, Cath Kidston, and The White Company have already opened on the site.
Habitat has also opened its third largest department store here and has recruited local artists Sophie Abbott, Lauri Hopkins and Becky Blair to design homeware, which is an initiative that they hope to run on a yearly basis. Habitats Managing Director Clare Askem has said:
“We have had a phenomenal response from customers, recording one of our strongest ever opening weeks and seeing sales continue to grow during the busy winter period. Our city-centre location, exciting store design and collaborations with local artists have really connected with customers here, drawing new shoppers and design fans to North Street. We’re looking forward to welcoming many more as the Hanningtons Estate is completed.”
The local restaurant group Gingerman will also be opening a restaurant on the site, which will have a rooftop terrace and create ‘the centerpiece’ for the new Lane. Pamela McKellar, who owns the restaurant alongside her husband Ben has said:
We want to create the perfect place for food, drinks and a get-together with friends – we’re very much hoping to make this a glamorous space to eat and drink in the heart of the town.”
A local resident described the opening of this restaurant as “exactly the sort of high-quality local business we should want in a location like this”. Other Residents have suggested that this mix of chains, which will bring people to the area, as well as the opportunity for high-quality independent retailers to set up in the new Lane, will be a positive outcome for the old department store. The ‘big’ shops, such as Habitat are located on the Northstreet location, which will increase the footfall.
“The real story is that we have a new thoroughfare, with the new lane opening up the city’s historic centre as never before. The developers have also spent time and effort on the architecture, rather than just chucking up modern buildings – as happened when Brighton Square was built in the 1960s.” – Local resident commenting on a Facebook post in Brighton People
Andrew Foulds, Portfolio Director at Redevvo and the developer of the Harrington estate has said
The Lanes attract shoppers from all over the World and our retailers recognise that this a fantastic and unique place to spend time and shop. They are investing in Brighton and Hanningtons Estate because they have bought into our exciting vision for this area. We can’t wait to share this experience with shoppers and are planning some exciting new collaborations and events over the coming months. If you are a compelling brand who could add to a carefully curated retail mix we want to hear from you!”
Check out the Hanningtons Estate Blog here