Dec 8, 2021
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Nottingham reimagines city centre, to build £500m shopping and leisure space

Dec 8, 2021

Nottingham is to get a major new central shopping centre, leisure space and park , costing £500 million.

Broad Marsh

Reworking rather than replacing what’s left of the city’s 1970s Broadmarsh mall, it’s called the ‘Vision’ with the reimagined 400,000 sq ft commercial, business, conference and residential space expected to create 3,000 jobs once the build is fully completed within 10 years.

Vision developer The Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group has published its plans for the 20-acre site that was handed back to Nottingham City Council after the collapse of shopping mall operator Intu last year. Intu had already begun work on part of the site until it fell into administration and the work was halted.

Highly-acclaimed British designer Thomas Heatherwick, who designed the Coal Drops Yard shopping redevelopment at London’s Kings Cross, was commissioned to work on the creative vision for the new city centre site.

The Advisory Group believes the rebuild presents Nottingham with a “once in many generations” opportunity given the size, scale and position of the site and said it would offer “social and economic opportunity to Nottingham on an unprecedented and historic scale”.

Broad Marsh

The key elements of the plans include: new commercial and mixed-use buildings, creating high-end business and office space, including conference space, and “high quality ground floor retail”. Some of the structural frame of the old Broadmarsh shopping centre will be given new life and meaning and it will reinstate many of Nottingham’s lost street connections and rebuild them for the future of the city. And it will create a new ‘Green Heart’ for the city centre, a wildlife-rich green space set within 3.5 hectares of common ground.

What’s interesting here is that while retail will be a much smaller part of the space, the stores that are there should benefit from the residents and workers in the area once the development is complete.

Independent chair of the Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group, Greg Nugent, said: “Out of the adversity of the collapse of Intu comes a chance for Nottingham to build a new kind of city centre. Thomas Heatherwick’s vision creates a blueprint for a City that wants to reinvent itself, ready for life beyond Covid-19.”

Heatherwick added: “Rather than demolish the [old Broadmarsh] structure, we are proposing to keep the frame and breathe new life into it, creating a place that can hold the diversity and vibrancy that is so lacking from many city centres. The aim is to bridge between generations, communities, and cultures so that the new Broad Marsh [the historic name for the area] can reflect the true diversity of the city.”

Some observers have also hailed it as a way forward for other towns and cities facing the closure of large shopping centre spaces and individual large department stores.

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