A boarded-up shop is being offered rent-free for a year to any budding businesses, in a bid to rejuvenate one of Northampton’s main shopping streets.
The unit at 30 The Drapery has been renovated, and is being marketed at both start-up businesses and established companies looking to expand.
Samantha Jones, from Surveyors Prop-Search, said: “The landlord just wants a tenant and hopefully this will give someone a chance to get established. It is right next to Debenhams and has a bus stop right outside, so it’s in a very good location.
“The property has also had quite a lot of work done, so someone could just move in.”
Anyone moving into the shop would have to sign a three-year agreement with the first year free and the second and third years at the half-price rent of £6,000.
The unit, opposite Debenhams, has a ground floor sales area, office space and basement storage.
The offer to rent it free for a year comes as the Chron’s annual summer town centre health check showed the number of empty shops in the town had risen to 77, with a total of seven recorded in The Drapery.
Although any prospective tenants would have to pay business rates of £4,500, the surveyor marketing the property said she had never seen an offer so generous in the county.
The surveyor looking to let the premises says the owner of the property “just wants a tenant”.
Samantha Jones, of Prop-Search, said: “The landlord is Leicestershire-based and is aware there are a fair number of empty retail units. It is not necessarily about money for them.
“They are of an era where they don’t like to walk up a High Street and see empty shops.”
The Chron’s annual survey, which has been carried out every August since 2009, showed that 17 per cent of the town’s shops currently sit empty.
This is the highest number since the paper started the survey.
When the survey began, there were 76 empty shops in the town, and that figure dropped to 68 last year, leading to optimism the town was coming out of the recession. But the number rose again by nine this year. Anyone interested in the property in The Drapery can call Northampton 492000 or 01933 223300.