The project stalled in the recession, with problems signing up sufficient retailers.
Westfield has now signed up Next to join Marks & Spencer and Debenhams as anchor tenants. It has also confirmed a deal with Meyer Bergman and two Canadian pension funds to acquire and fund the project. Westfield retain contractual responsibility for construction, leasing and management of the centre.
Since February this year Westfield has submitted the required documentation to discharge all of the planning conditions which need to be discharged prior to start of construction. Of the “pre-start” conditions, only three remain to be discharged and it is expected that these will be discharged in early October.
On completion, the development will total 570,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, with 1,300 new car parking spaces.
Westfield has estimated that the shopping centre construction will create 377 jobs, of which 20% will be new vacancies. A minimum of 50 job vacancies – two thirds of the total expected vacancies – are being targeted to be filled by unemployed residents.
To flag up the opportunities available for local businesses and suppliers during the two-year construction process, Westfield and the city council are planning to hold a meet the buyer event in due course. Any interested suppliers are invited to contact Westfield by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.