Merry Hill mall set for £50m 'transformation' investment
One of the key malls in the former Intu portfolio -- Birmingham’s Merry Hill — is to see big investment from new operator Ellandi. The company said the mall is “set for a major transformation following confirmation of a £50 million+ investment programme by the UK’s leading privately-owned shopping centre operator”.
It has a five-year plan and will mean Merry Hill is the first former Intu asset to undergo a major refurb. This will include a new placemaking masterplan for the 2 million sq ft+ centre and surrounding waterfront and leisure destination.
The first-stage relaunch will happen in September and the plans “will culminate in Merry Hill setting a new benchmark for how shopping centres can evolve to the changing needs of both occupiers and customers, post-Covid,” Ellandi said.
The transformation of Merry Hill “will include works to ‘future-proof’ the shopping centre and enhance its sustainability credentials, with an ambitious net-zero goal set for 2030 which will be achieved through, for example, the installation of solar panels and more than 200 electric vehicle charging points”.
Merry Hill is the eighth largest shopping centre in the UK with a catchment of around 2.8 million people within a 45-minute drive of the destination.
A new centre manager has also been appointed. Jonathan Poole, formerly centre manager at The Liberty centre in Romford, took up the position this spring, bringing with him more than 20 years’ experience managing some of the UK’s best-known retail destinations.
Ellandi added that more than 126,000 sq ft of deals have completed or are about to complete this year and detailed negotiations are underway with 22 new retailers totalling over 230,000 sq ft.
The company said that the “goal of the investment is to build on the best-in-class retail offer provided by occupiers such as Next, JD Sport and Primark; creating a standout environment that will secure further leading brands in their flagship formats, and an enhanced leisure offer to provide customers with an exemplary experience unique to Merry Hill”.
Plans include the development of a new family entertainment ‘Leisure District’, while existing leisure facilities will undergo substantial upgrades and be better connected to the main mall.
The announcement comes as the last main Intu sign was removed, with £14 million works to install new decorative interactive panelling outside the centre nearing completion.
According to research by retail specialist Javelin Group, retailers at Merry Hill continue to outperform at +34% above chain average, “while the centre is the strongest scheme in terms of retailers’ sales performance across its catchment area”.
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