Pizza restaurant pulls out of shopping centre
12:00pm Friday 28th September 2012 in News
PIZZA Express is the second national chain to pull out of taking on a Witney premises that has stood empty for three years.
The popular restaurant has announced it will not open in Witney’s Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre, despite winning planning permission to double the size of the unit last year.
Before Pizza Express expressed an interest, the same unit had been earmarked for a Starbucks, pictured. Hoardings heralding the American chain’s arrival are still in place on the shop front.
Pizza Express said the centre’s new landlords were unable to accommodate their requirements and it was “disappointed” not to be opening in the town.
Marriotts Walk said its letting agent is now in active discussions with a number of other restaurant operators. It was owned by Kandahar Witney Ltd but has been owned by RREEF Witney Ltd since February 1.
Pizza Express property director Mark Jones said: “We were very interested in opening a restaurant in the shopping centre and were in advanced talks with the previous owners of the shopping centre about taking space.
“Due to our requirements in terms of space, we made enquiries about extending the Starbucks unit. Unfortunately, when the new landlords took ownership, we found they were unable to accommodate our request.”
Marriotts Walk manager Lynne Shawyer said: “We have been working with Pizza Express through our advisors to conclude a new letting.
“Those discussions have been ongoing and if they no longer wish to proceed that is unfortunate.”