Working closely with the landlord’s team (Bankfoot APAM & DLG Architects), rpa:group was able to transform the ground and basement levels of the Grade II Listed Post Office Exchange Building, in order to achieve a greatly improved presence on the High Street for Foot Locker and bringing life back to a building, which had been largely vacant for more than 6 years.
Originally constructed in 1907, the Post Office Exchange building was subsequently split into two units at ground and basement floors, with Foot Locker originally occupying the left-hand unit when it took possession of that space in 2018. In early 2022 the landlords proposed developing the entire building, by creating three separate retail units on the ground floor, with corresponding basement spaces, and a number of schemes for the four floors above to include office and residential.
Foot Locker jumped at the opportunity to improve their offer within Leeds through increasing the size of their store, thus cementing their commitment to the local market and the High Street.
Working closely with Foot Locker’s internal designers, the team at rpa:group were able to apply the corporate design requirements to the intended space that Foot Locker was expanding into. During the initial design process rpa:group and engineers at IWP attended the site to survey the existing Foot Locker store as it was currently arranged and the area of proposed expansion.
Following the survey, our joint report was issued with suggestions for layout and for items that could be retained. In the interest of the environment and clients’ budgets, rpa:group and IWP try to ensure that we approach spaces with retention of services in mind, rather than a “strip out and start from scratch” point of view. Too often in our industry we see perfectly good staff areas or equipment being stripped out because they do not fit the proposed layout, whereas with a little creative thought and flexibility, they can be retained to prevent perfectly good equipment ending up in a skip.
With the initial designs signed off internally within Foot Locker, rpa:group moved into the detailed design phase, producing construction phase drawings sets, tender documentation, packs of information for the various planning applications and submissions to Landlords and Building Control for approvals. All of this was done in coordination with the wider team of consultants we work with on Foot Locker projects, that include IWP for mechanical and electrical designs, Brasier Freeth for Real Estate, MACE for project management, JM Partnership as Approved Inspectors, and Tersus / Eurosafe for Health & Safety.
The resulting store is arranged with the sales area on the ground floor and staff and stock arrangements in the basement. The sales floor employs the latest design concept from Foot Locker, with a move away from a dedicated bank of tills to strategically located service points in the various departments around the store. The extensive range of trainers and apparel are displayed on the latest design of fixtures and there is a chill-out zone centrally positioned, where customers can hang out and recharge and enjoy the store atmosphere.
The rpa:group team of Peter Coogan, Esther Fernandez, Nikki Tidbury and Nisha Gracias, along with the wider consultant team and General Contractor Jones & Andrews, can be truly proud of the store they have handed over to the client in Leeds. This is another great example of a retail fit-out that will promote the client’s engagement with its intended market for years to come.