Festival Place revamp revealed

Published:  12 October, 2016

AEW unveils ambitious plans to rejuvenate Festival Place, Basingstoke

Following the acquisition of Festival Place in December 2015, AEW is undertaking a number of new initiatives to enhance the long-term performance of the 1.1million sq ft shopping centre in the heart of Basingstoke. These will include substantial improvements to St John’s Square and enhancing the quality and efficiency of the car park.

It is also anticipated that there will be significant changes in the retailer line-up over the next 12 months which will increase footfall and dwell times and significantly improve the retail and leisure experience for the local Basingstoke and wider Hampshire audience.

As part of AEW’s long-term strategy, works have already started on St John’s Square, which will be transformed into a bright and spacious outdoor area for visitors to enjoy, featuring an enhanced public realm. Metro Bank will open in December 2016 and is expected to become the catalyst for the square, following the signing of a 25-year lease for a prominent 14,000 sq ft unit. Attractive double height shop facades will also be introduced on St. John’s Square.

Russell Jewell, head of private equity funds for AEW in Europe, said: “We are looking at a number of long-term asset management initiatives to enhance all parts of the centre. Securing a landmark letting to Next earlier this year has created real momentum and we’re in talks with several new brands interested in taking space at Festival Place. We will make further announcements in the near future”.

Next will join existing anchors Debenhams and Marks & Spencer at Festival Place, doubling its floorspace to 48,000 sq ft in a two-level flagship store formerly occupied by BHS, which will open in January 2017.

Festival Place has a footfall of 20 million a year and is home to 200 shops and restaurants, including SuperDry, Zara, Apple, River Island, New Look and H&M, a 10-screen Vue Cinema, and a strong mix of restaurants, including Las Iguanas, PizzaExpress, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nando’s, Giraffe, Pizza Hut and wagamama. Over the past year, several have refitted and enhanced their restaurants, which shows strong confidence in the centre by existing brands.

Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield.

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