Cushman & Wakefield have reported that this year, 1.5million sq. ft. of shopping centre floor space is in the development pipeline – a massive jump from the 1.3 million sq. ft. delivered in 2017. There has been a real shift in the shopping centre sector, with schemes becoming destinations consumers visit to shop, meet friends, dine, enjoy leisure activities or to attend an event. Some buzzwords we are hearing in the sector are retailtainment, customertainment, placemaking, personalisation and experiential management. There has become a growth in consumers expecting an experience from shopping centres, so it is not surprising that landlords have not only developed the retail space, but had a real focus on F&B and leisure floor space in the extensions and developments.
Westfield London has undergone a £600 million expansion, creating an extra 740,000 sq. ft. of retail, dining, leisure and entertainment space, bringing the total number of stores to 450. This development is set to bring further footfall, tourism and investment into the local area.
Intu Lakeside is expected to complete the £95 million leisure development this year which will create 225,000 sq.ft. of space dedicated to cafes, restaurants and new leisure activities. The Parques Reunidos Group has partnered with intu to create a 50,000 sq. ft. Nickelodeon family entertainment centre to anchor the leisure development.
Intu Watford has experienced a £180 million redevelopment with new fashion, beauty, food and leisure stores including a 9 screen cinema. The investment includes the construction of a modern glass roof which was completed in February this year, making the scheme a focal point in the retail landscape. They are also updating and modernising the floors and ceiling throughout the scheme, really transforming the entire destination. The extension will have a phased opening starting in September this year, bringing plenty of new brands to the area!
Sheffield City Council has recently announced that in partnership with Queensberry, they are committed to driving forward proposals to transform the city centre regeneration scheme. If approved, the Council will act as the primary development investor to bring forward 1.5m-sq. ft. of new retail, leisure, Grade A office and residential space. The plans show that the scheme will be mixed use with the retail aspect focusing on premium operators that are not currently present in the city centre.
Hammerson and Standard Life Investments are expected to start construction on the regeneration of Brent Cross this year. The plans involve 2million sq. ft. of floor space, 150 new retail stores, 50 restaurants, a cinema and hotel. They are also expanding the bus station to make the scheme more accessible to the public realm.
There are many more investments, developments and expansions than listed above; it’s an exciting time for the industry. Amongst some of the doom and gloom we are seeing in the news with retailers going to administration, it is also encouraging to see international retailers making their debut in the UK and online retailers starting to invest in physical space. Shopping centres are developing, expanding, diversifying their tenants and transforming into truly exciting destinations where consumers can go to enjoy an experience – I’m looking forward to seeing the sector develop further this year.