A YORK-based property specialist has bought several city centre retail units for an undisclosed sum.

Helmsley Group has acquired numbers three to seven in Coney Street which are currently occupied by JD Sports, Lush, Mango, and the vacant unit previously home to Joe’s Kitchen.

Business will continue as usual for the existing tenants, and Helmsley are currently looking for a hospitality occupier for the former Joe’s Kitchen site.  

The properties were bought off market from M&G, the London-based asset management company, in a major investment boost for the city centre.

The latest purchases on York's premier shopping street complements a series of deals on Coney Street over the last 12 months and forms part of Helmsley’s ongoing strategy to work with its investors and stakeholders to ensure York and the wider region continue to thrive.

York Press:

JD Sport, pictured on the right, is one of the units acquired by the Helmsley Group. Picture: Nadia Jefferson-Brown

Helmsley recently helped to bring the property formerly occupied by Dorothy Perkins and Burton on Coney Street back to life, as well as acquiring the units housing Ernest Jones and the old Poundland store.

Helmsley Group has been investing in Coney Street for several years, following the purchase of units 39-43, which are currently let to Boots and W H Smith.

York Press:

The York-based Group, which offers syndicated property, property finance and development opportunities, believes that how people use city centres will evolve as society reopens  in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ed Harrowsmith, investment director, said: “Despite the uncertainty for our high streets caused by Covid-19, the pandemic has in many ways re-emphasised the resilience of our local economies as well as evidencing a real sense of community as people shop and buy local more than ever before.

“We believe that this trend will continue as people increasingly socialise, visit attractions and maximise benefits from urban parks and public spaces.

“Additionally, we are increasingly seeing a move away from commercial property ownership in the hands of remote funds to more established local owners and investors who are committed to helping improve the built environment, communities and economies in which they operate.

“As one of York’s main property companies and one of these local owners and investors, we are passionate about harnessing these trends to help and regenerate our high streets and city centres, allowing us to ‘build back better’.

“This strategic acquisition on one of York’s busiest shopping streets will be crucial in allowing us to do this.”

York Press:

Max Reeves, development director, said: “We believe that taking proactive steps now will not only benefit the economy in the short-term, but also cement a positive future for retail alongside creating resilient high streets for the future.

“The purchase of these core city centre properties is a central part of this strategy, given their proximity to other assets which are managed by Helmsley on behalf of our investors, including the buildings occupied by Vodka Revolution and City Screen on the riverfront.”

He added: “The remainder of this year and beyond is set to be an extremely exciting period as we spearhead once-in-a-generation opportunities, particularly in York.

“We look forward to collaborating with our investors, tenants and stakeholders to explore ways to further unlock exciting potential over the coming months.”

James Bradley at Langleys Solicitors provided legal advice and Knight Frank acted on behalf of Helmsley Group.

The news comes after 34, Coney Street, sold at auction in March for £465,000.

Bids for the Grade II listed building started at £350,000 in the live-streamed online auction organised by London auctioneers Acuitus, and quickly rose past the guide price of £400,000. 

Acuitus had said that the shop, which has lain empty for some time, presented opportunities for conversion of the upper storeys to residential use, subject to planning consent.