Sternes build on success in buoyant Ripon retail and leisure market
Last updated Jan 24, 2024
Robert Sterne at Spa Baths
Robert Sterne

A long-term investor in Ripon’s retail and leisure sector has talked to the Stray Ferret about its latest acquisition.

The former Scope charity shop at 11 Fishergate is the latest addition to Sterne Properties Limited’s portfolio.

The majority of Sterne Properties’ investments, which also include the former Spa Baths and the old Curzon cinema, have focused on rejuvenating and re-purposing redundant and semi-derelict buildings in the firm’s home city.

Director Robert Sterne has similar plans for the old Scope shop. He said:

“We bought the property in October because, pardon the pun, we felt it had bags of scope for a hospitality business, sitting as it does in a prime location with strong footfall and close proximity to the bus station and off-street car parks, which are within easy reach.

“We are seeking planning permission for a change of use from North Yorkshire Council and, in the meantime, our agent WPM is talking with a number of independent bar and restaurant operators, wanting to be part of Ripon’s growing success story.”

Bar and restaurant operators are showing an interest in the two-storey former Scope charity shop premises.

Mr Sterne’s company has invested in Ripon for 30 years.

It focuses on regenerating properties in the city for retail and leisure purposes while at the same time developing upper floor residential units on the same sites.

He said:

“In the wake of covid and the lockdowns that hit retail and leisure operators really hard, Ripon has bounced back quicker than many other centres of similar size.

“Smaller, innovative and entrepreneurial independent businesses, such as those seen in the Halls of Ripon department store, weathered the storm and have emerged stronger, while a number of the large national chains have been announcing closures.”

Ripon in ‘healthy position’

Halls of Ripon, where major reconfiguration work is underway, is part  of Sterne Properties’ diverse portfolio of tenants which also includes the Claro Lounge, Caffe Nero,  Cafe at Number 10 and The Little Ripon Bookshop.

Mr Sterne added:

“We also have the Spa Baths, which we plan to return to its former Edwardian splendour and Appleton’s are another of our long-term tenants.

“In addition to the demand from prospective occupiers of our own properties, further indicators of the healthy position that Ripon is in came with the arrival of Trespass in November and with Peacocks due to open next month.

“Each has taken large units in prime locations at opposite sides of Market Square.”

Main picture: Robert Sterne at Spa Baths, one of the many Ripon properties in his company’s diverse portfolio.

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