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Landlord steps in to save Afflecks Palace

Iconic Manchester shopping emporium Afflecks Palace has been saved from closure after landlord Bruntwood bought the business from manager and founder Elaine Walsh.

Afflecks Palace, dubbed an “Aladdin’s Cave of fledgling designers and experimental fashion”, is where designers including Wayne Hemingway kicked off their fashion careers. It had been under threat since June last year, when the lease on the building expired.

Bruntwood said in a statement: “After 26 years of trading, Afflecks’ management has sold the company to Bruntwood in an agreement that protects its future. Bruntwood will manage Afflecks while it looks for a new owner that can bring a similar level of dedication that the existing management has.”

Designer Hemingway had waded into the debate over the future of Afflecks Palace and claimed that the city would turn into a “clone town” without it. This week he added: “This is great news. It is people power that has done this. People got behind it and recognised it as a local treasure.”

Hemingway added that Manchester’s Northern Quarter was one of the most important shopping destinations in the UK. “Afflecks Palace sets the city aside,” he said. “If Manchester allows the Northern Quarter to be gentrified, it’s a big loss – Manchester is one of the few cities that has a vibrant bohemian quarter.”

A Bruntwood spokesman said: “Never in our 30-year history have we bought one of our customers’ businesses, but Afflecks is a Manchester icon that we wanted to protect.”

Traders at Afflecks gathered a petition of 8,000 names in a bid to save the business. The threat of closure is believed to have centred around Bruntwood’s plans to refurbish the site at a cost of £500,000.

Some of the burden is thought to have been attached to the new lease. Afflecks Palace was founded in 1982 to support youth culture and entrepreneurialism.

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