WREXHAM’S ‘ghost town’ shopping centre Henblas Square is to welcome a £4 million-plus investment followed by a major national sports chain in the New Year.

The 2016 closure of British Home Stores in Henblas Square proved a body blow for town centre trade as it left behind an empty shell and what turned into a ghost avenue of stores as footfall plummeted and other shops went under.

But property developers Mandale are investing more than £4m into buying and renovating the vacant shopping centre which first opened to great fanfare in 1999 and are confident of getting the area thriving again.

The firm has sold the 10,000 sq ft former BHS premises to an as yet-unnamed major sports retailer who are set to move in over the next few months.

And Mandale is sure of filling the neighbouring row of six empty stores which they are currently refitting and are available to let after slashing rents to between £10,000 and £15,000 per unit.

The company are also in the process of converting the former offices above the empty ground floor outlets into 54 high quality apartments which have all been sold and will be finished by the end of February 2019, along with the revamped units.

In its heyday, shops at Henblas Square also included TJ Hughes, Evans, The Entertainer toy store, Au Naturale, MVC and Bodycare as well as BHS, and Mandale estates director Joe Darragh said he sees no reason why it can’t reach the same heights after receiving a wave of interest from businesses interested in moving in alongside the arriving major sports retailer.

He said: “We’re hoping to revive what is now a dormant area of Wrexham town centre and get people who live, shop and work in the area shopping there again, and I’m sure we will.

“Rents for shops at Henblas Square used to be astronomical, but we have slashed them and made them extremely competitive for Wrexham, and we’re hoping to talk to the local council to make business rates more affordable and breathe new life into the area.

“The units are ideal for town centre retailing and services such as clothes shops, chemists, a day nursery and creches, and are a good size.

“We’ve already received interest from carpet retailers, computer shops, newsagents, clothes shops, butchers and restaurants, and I think the units will be filled quickly.

“We’re fitting them out with new walls, ceilings and lighting ready for retailers to put their own touches to them, and we’re looking to do much more in Wrexham to further revitalise the town centre on the back of this.”

Residential and retail specialists The Mandale Group recently completed similar projects in Northallerton, Stockton and Hereford and are also responsible for the redevelopment of Hartlepool Marina.