British Land and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will welcome the first shoppers through the doors of the £84 million Whiteley retail and leisure development in Hampshire this morning.
The 320,000 ft² (approx. 29,728 m²) scheme will officially open at 11.00 am with a countdown culminating in the release of a giant heliosphere and acrobatic performances. The launch will continue over the next four days, featuring a full line up of events including entertainers, fashion workshops, musical entertainment and children's activities, plus a host of offers and events from Whiteley retailers.
The center has 58 shops and restaurants and is anchored by a 60,000 ft² (approx. 5,574 m²) M&S. Whiteley is over 90% let to prominent national retail brands including Topshop, Next, H&M, River Island and Bank, as well as seven local independent retailers set around a market square. The scheme also incorporates The Treehouse, a dedicated pop-up event and shopping space.
Charles Maudsley, Head of Retail for British Land, said: "Whiteley incorporates elements from both shopping centers and retail parks and is a great example of next generation retail space. We have integrated the latest technology to provide an exceptional environment and landlord services, including free wi-fi, that will satisfy the evolving needs of both retailers and customers."
Graham Burnett, Head of Property for USS, added: "We are particularly proud of the high quality, sustainable credentials of this scheme and the way in which the combination of local independent retailers and well-known brands makes this center a real part of the community and will contribute to its long term relevance and success. It will be a pleasure marking Whiteley's opening today with our partners, local community and shoppers."
Whiteley's exceptional design features contemporary shop units with dramatic double and triple height glazing and uses natural materials including high quality European oak panels. The design incorporates extensive energy efficient and sustainability features and has a BREEAM excellent rating. The high-quality public spaces and landscaped areas feature 15 specially commissioned bronze sculptures of woodland creatures. Whiteley also features The Treehouse, a pop-up event and shopping space which is unique in the UK and will be an incubator for new retailers and enable new concepts to be trialed.
Signed retailers include Bank, Beaverbrooks, Blacks, Boots, Card Factory, Carphone Warehouse, Claire's, Clarks, Clintons, Fat Face, Holland & Barrett, JD Sports, Jones Bootmaker, Ladbrokes, M&S, Mamas and Papas, Moss, Next, Paperchase, Phones 4u, River Island, Sabichi, Schuh, Sports Direct, The Body Shop, The Entertainer, Tiger, Topshop, Trespass, Vision Express and WH Smith. Restaurants and cafes include Caffe Nero, Chimichanga, Costa Coffee, Dean's Diner, Frankie & Benny's, Harvester, Prezzo, Starbucks, Subway and independent bistro Montagu's which has a glazed kiosk in the mall.
Local independent retailers include Little Soles children's shoe shop, the Fabulous Bakers, Whiteley Fruiterers greengrocers, Russell's Sweet Shop, Xpress Beauty and Solent Cycles. Local estate agent Walker & Waterer has also taken a unit in another part of the scheme and Market Square itself will provide space for a variety of independent markets. The center also provides 1,500 car parking spaces. More than 1,000 permanent jobs have been created.
18 of Whiteley's retailers feature an in store ‘click and collect' service, while Boots offers a late night pharmacy. The center’s seven restaurants stay open until late, establishing the scheme as a night time destination.
Whiteley benefits from a large and affluent catchment of 1.2 million people with an estimated £3.1 billion potential spend. The catchment is set to expand further in the foreseeable future with 3,500 new homes at North Whiteley.
Situated between the two harbor cities of Portsmouth and Southampton and adjacent to an existing Tesco supermarket, the scheme benefits from excellent accessibility via junction nine of the M27.
The letting agents for the scheme are Cushman & Wakefield (retail), Wilkinson Williams (retail) and Davis Coffer Lyons (leisure).
Source: British Land