Units filled as rents 'more realistic'
EMPTY units are being snapped up in Swansea as landlords become more realistic with rents, according to a leading city shopkeeper.
Troubled high street sports goods store JJB Sports closed on Union Street in Swansea last month and is already in the process of being fitted out by a replacement tenant.
Work is under way to refurbish the New York pub in Princess Way and a commercial development is believed to be being in the early stages of a fit-out in a unit boarded up for several years on the corner of York Street.
Dave Kenny, chairman of Swansea's Business Improvement District, who runs a party shop in Swansea's Shopper's Walk arcade, said: "I have been surrounded by empty units for the past six months and now they are being taken.
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"At the end of the day there is an element that lease prices are coming down to have a property which is encouraging for entrepreneurs or people that want to start their own business.
"It has become more affordable.
"Leases are coming down and the landlords are starting to get realistic, they haven't been realistic for a long time with what they are charging.
"We all know that house prices have been dropping but commercial prices haven't been falling. Now I think it is starting to get much more realistic.
"People are realising this recession is not going to go away."
Household good store Perfect Home has moved into the former JJB Sports unit in Union Street, creating a total of seven jobs. Five of the new staff were previously unemployed, including father of four Martyn Baker.
The 46-year-old sales consultant was out of work for nine months after being made redundant just before Christmas.
He said: "When I got the call to say I had the job it was such a relief, it was a massive pressure lifted."
National clothing chain Quiz has also launched a store in a unit which had been empty for several months in Swansea's Quadrant shopping centre.
The store has also created seven jobs through opening.
Quadrant manager Ian Kirkpatrick said: "Quiz is a successful, fast-growing fashion brand and its new store is a welcome addition to the excellent retail mix we have at the Quadrant."