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To let: Broadmead’s oldest shop

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It’s easy to forget that not all of Bristol’s Broadmead shopping quarter is the result of post-war development… small corners of a long and proud history still remain.

And one of the very oldest shops, dating back almost 200 years, is now available to let.

Units 1-4 front the Grade II listed St James Arcade where it meets with Broadmead itself, which was designed by local architects James Foster andSons in 1824-25. It was modelled on Burlington Arcade in London and, at the time, was only the second shopping arcade to be built in the UK. Its rather grand entrances include Greek style columns, and major refurbishment has recently restored it to its former glory.

The 600-foot arcade provides an important pedestrian link from Broadmead to the Primark and Debenhams department stores on The Horsefair. But few people may know that it was actually one of a pair of arcades – it was formerly known as the “Lower Arcade” while the Upper Arcade linked the Horsefair to St James Barton… but was destroyed during the Blitz.

The Lower Arcade was one of the few buildings in the old Broadmead to survive the Blitz relatively intact and it was listed in 1949 – shortly after a decision was taken not to demolish it and make way for new buildings, as happened with a number of other notable historic buildings at the time.

The premises available to let has five floors, including some 1,234 sq ft of sales space on the ground floor, and is part of a prime retail pitch in Broadmead, immediately adjacent to Accessorize, close to Marks & Spencer and opposite Boots and the Greyhound Walk entrance to the Galleries shopping centre.

“This is a real slice of Bristol history up for grabs,” says director Stuart Williams of joint Bristol based surveyors, Williams Gunter Hardwick. “These are easily the oldest shops left in Broadmead, and are only pre-dated locally by the Wesleyan chapel, which goes back to 1739.

“But as well as being historic and a pleasure to visit, it’s also a prime retail spot – St James Arcade has a delightful mix of outlets and carries a huge amount of pedestrian traffic between Broadmead and the Horsefair.”

Williams Gunter Hardwick join Cardiff based agent, Oscar Clarke, as letting agents on this Broadmead fronting shop. Oscar Clarke remain the agents for the internal units where only a handful of opportunities remain unspoken for.

April 2015

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