Plans have been announced for a ‘leisure-focused upgrade’ at the Merry Hill shopping centre in Birmingham.
When shopping centre owner Intu went into administration last year, the banks appointed Ellandi, a privately-owned operator of shopping centres, to act as asset manager on their behalf.
Ellandi has now revealed its plans to revive the centre – “to transform the shopping centre into the ultimate family shopping and leisure destination in the West Midlands by July 2025”.
The plans include a design overhaul and new attractions. Several stores are also planning their own upgrades, including Asda, which is investing £3m in improvements.
A new family entertainment ‘Leisure District’ is also being considered as part of the plan to broaden the appeal of Merry Hill as a destination.
Already £14 million works are nearing completion on rebranding, installing new decorative panelling outside the centre to remove any trace of the failed Intu name.
Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi, said: “Our plans mean that by July 2025, Merry Hill will be the West Midlands’ most vibrant family lifestyle destination, embedded right in the heart of the local community.
“The expected arrival of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension in late 2023, which will see the creation of a new station close to The Waterfront, will also make getting to and from the centre easier and more environmentally-friendly than ever before.
“We are working with key stakeholders such as Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council to ensure that the arrival of the Metro and the exciting Future High Street Fund plans for Brierley Hill are built on to create a inclusive environment for the local community as well as a best in class regional destination.
“We are extremely confident that our ambitious plans will transform the centre into the premier retail and leisure designation of choice for the West Midlands – creating a cherished destination that the whole community can take pride in.”
Shopping centre group Intu collapsed into administration in June 2020. It owned and operated 17 shopping centres across the UK including Trafford Centre, Lakeside, Merry Hill and MetroCentre. Each is now owned individually by special purpose vehicles or propcos which are outside of any insolvency process and continue to trade as normal under the control of their directors.