The Gloucester Antiques Centre has reopened under new management two weeks after its sudden closure over a rent dispute.
Peel Holdings, owner of the Gloucester Quays Outlet, who leased the centre to GAC Quays Limited, terminated the lease on August 19 but plan to run the centre themselves now, according to news reports.
At the time of going to press, no member of Gloucester Quays management was available to speak to ATG, nor could Stephen Zacaroli, the centre's manager, confirm whether he is to remain in post.
Staff and some of the dealers at the centre, which backs onto the outlet, arrived on the 19th to find the doors locked.
A notice posted on the Gloucester Antiques Centre website said: "The centre had been in negotiation with the Quays about the lease for some considerable time. This was due to the levels of footfall at Gloucester Quays not being at the levels promised and resulted in levels of trade and dealer rents being significantly less than required to meet the levels of rent demanded by Gloucester Quays."
For the 80 dealers the closure came as a complete shock, and led to worries over the safety of thousands of pounds worth of stock, which they were unable to sell or remove. BADA members Jillings Antique Clocks have been at the centre since 2009 and Doro Jillings told ATG how concerned she was about the sudden closure and the uncertainties surrounding this and subsequent lack of information.
Peel Holdings issued a press statement on August 30, saying: "It is with regret that action has been taken against the operator GAC Quays Limited to terminate their lease. This action has taken place due to substantial arrears of rent arising over a considerable period of time."
ATG have been unable to make contact with Evan Maindonald, managing director of GAC Quays Limited. Property developer and entrepreneur Mr Maindonald's involvement began in 2007 when he and his partner Raine Thurston bought the Gloucester Antiques Centre, then at the Lock Warehouse - now converted into apartments by Melt Homes, of which Mr Maindonald is a director - on the North Quay docks where it had been open for trade for 30 years.
Two years later, he oversaw an ambitious move across the river to a newly renovated Victorian warehouse at Gloucester Quays, a significant one for the centre, as it was on the edge of the Gloucester Quays designer shopping outlet, part of a 60-acre, £400m regeneration of the docks. The designer outlet opened in May 2009 and the centre followed in July that year.