Broadmarsh Centre to get £40m makeover23 April 2010
Nottingham's ageing Broadmarsh Shopping Centre is to get a £40m makeover.
Owner Westfield wants to improve the entrances to the 40-year-old centre and refurbish the interior.
Work could start this summer with a completion date at the end of 2011.
The revised proposals follow Westfield's announcement a year ago that it was shelving any start of its original £700m refurbishment and extension until the economy improved.
As well as modernising and updating the interior, Westfield wants to reconfigure the interior following the closure of the T K Maxx store.
Shop fronts will be introduced to part of the Collin Street frontage.
A planning application has been submitted to Nottingham City Council.
Westfield described it as "a series of centre enhancement projects".
The city council has strongly criticised Australian-owned Westfield over delays.
Some city business leaders believe it leaves an impression that Nottingham is made up of downmarket shops, putting off potential investors.
The authority has pressed Westfield to carry out improvements to the north-south line of the centre - the pedestrian route from the railway station to Old Market Square.
Westfield director, Peter Miller, insisted the plans for the larger scheme embracing a big area south of Collin Street had not been abandoned.
He said the £40m proposals outlined today were merely the first stage.
The redesign of the Listergate entrance will represent a continuation of the recent Lister Gate refurbishment, which introduced double height shop fronts along the approach to the centre.
The entrance facade on Collin Street will be redesigned and glazed shop fronts introduced.
Within the centre, improvements will be made between the two entrances bordering Listergate Square.
Westfield is proposing a number of new retailers but declined to elaborate.
Harvey Nichols, the posh people's department store which has said it wants to go to the new enlarged shopping centre, will not be moving into the refurbished centre next year.
Mr Miller said the centre will be upgraded and the former T K Maxx store reconfigured for new retailers.
Listergate Square, the space between the Lister Gate and Collin Street entrances will be refurbished.
Some of the shop units will also be changed.
The refurbishment is aimed at attracting retailers who demand a better quality centre.
The existing centre leaks in heavy downpours.
Although the city council would like to see a new scheme with streets open to the air, this will not form part of the proposals.
"This is a repositioning, remix and refurbishment of the existing centre," said Mr Miller.
"We are also looking at refurbishing the entrances so there is a sense of arrival with a new fresh look and feel."
Drury Walk and the entrance from Middle Pavement will also be updated.
Cafe bar Fashion recently quit its location overlooking busy Bridlesmith Gate.
Mr Miller said: "At the moment, the centre has suffered to a degree because it has been held over for redevelopment.
"The type of retailers we have had are more temporary. As a result they don't invest a lot in their shop so the centre has looked drab.
"We are re-positioning it to bring in new, high quality retailers who will invest in new shop fronts, the sort one would expect to see in the High Street and newly-developed centres in the UK."
Mr Miller added: "This is completely in sync with our medium to long-term plans to redevelop the centre."
Mr Miller would not be drawn on speculation that it wants to buy Severns House, the offices on Middle Hill.
The revised proposals need the backing of Nottingham's planners and a planning application for the Listergate and Collin Street entrances has been made.
None of the plans announced today overcome problems of blight over sites south of Collin Street. Empty shops spill down Carrington Street towards the station and a former NatWest Bank and offices remain unoccupied.
Westfield also acquired rights over an area south of Cliff Road east of the Broadmarsh Centre where properties remain empty.
Mr Miller said Westfield was in discussions with the local authority.
"We are open-minded about having a fresh look and response to the demand of the market. Retailers' requirements change and are very dynamic."
Les Sparks, chairman of the Urban Forum comprising English Heritage and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has urged Westfield to break up the massing of the development so that it is not in a self-contained centre. He also encouraged streets open to the air.
A new application almost identical to that submitted for the £700m scheme nearly 10 years ago, disappointed councillors.
Mr Miller said: "We had responded in our previous application to open streets treatment with an open square.
"But I can't see the whole scheme being open air."