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Mark Bourgeois, Managing Director of Shopping Centres, Capital & Regional

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Mark Bourgeois, Managing Director of Shopping Centres, Capital & RegionalIt has been said that investment in shopping centres in the North has stalled, however the redevelopment of The Mall Blackburn illustrates that investment has not entirely halted and that landlords are still working to improve and enhance assets.

In 2004, when The Mall Fund purchased The Mall Blackburn, the centre was dominant within the town centre, however it required a comprehensive refurbishment and extension to revitalise the centre and town.

Recognising the need for redevelopment, for both the shopping centre and the town, The Mall drew up plans to regenerate, expand and modernise the centre and the adjacent Lord Square which had become extremely run down, reflecting badly on both the shopping centre and the town as a whole. The Mall also sought to address the poor pedestrian circulation elsewhere in the scheme.

The first phase of The Mall Blackburn's £66 million redevelopment involved a 200,000 sq ft extension creating a contemporary and sustainable retail space within a bright, open two – storey environment. The extension succeeded in attracting new retailers to the town including Primark, H&M, USC, Bank, Costa and Deichmann as well as providing existing retailers Next, New Look, Carphone Warehouse and Specsavers the opportunity to expand. The extension was greeted enthusiastically by both retailers and shoppers and resulted in a substantial footfall boost for the town centre, with a 12 per cent increase in footfall in 2011 and a five per cent increase this year (YTD).

The second phase of the development was completed in the summer of 2011 with the opening of a 70,000 sq ft continental style market on the lower level of The Mall. The Mall’s positive relationship with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council also acted as a catalyst for the local authority push forward with wider regeneration in the town centre, including the regeneration of other shopping streets and works to improve connectivity throughout the town centre. As a result of the The Mall Fund’s investment, The Mall Blackburn provides the bulk of the town’s retail offer, now comprising 600,000 sq ft of retail space and over 100 stores.

The regeneration, both in the centre and elsewhere in Blackburn have dramatically improved the environment, traffic and transport within the town, boosting economic growth and improving the town’s prosperity.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 25th September 2012 (updated 09/04/2013)

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