A multi-screen cinema and a string of new restaurants will be the focal point of a multi-million pound redevelopment of Peterborough’s Queensgate shopping centre.
Plans have just been unveiled for a £30 million investment to create the 77,000 sq ft extension has been lined up for the 33-year-old shopping centre by its owners Invesco and Lend Lease.
As well as the multi-screen digital cinema and a hub of seven restaurants, the development will include the creation of a number of new stores.
In addition, fashion chain Next will move into a new unit that will double its existing size while top of the market department store John Lewis will hand over surplus storage space on the its top floor to the scheme.
The development is expected to create up 200 jobs once it is complete - a 10 per cent increase in the number of staff working in the shopping centre.
Queensgate was bought by Invesco Real Estate for £202 million in 2013 and the centre is managed by Lend Lease.
This is the most significant and exciting investment in the centre since it opened.Guy Thomas
Guy Thomas, head of retail leasing at Lend Lease, said: “Working in partnership with John Lewis, we plan to create an exciting new addition to Queensgate, adding a range of stores that suit modern retailer requirements, including a Next twice as large as the existing one.
“The extension is also about increasing Queensgate’s appeal as a leisure destination.
“The cinema, which will include an IMAX screen, will further add to Queensgate’s draw as a regional retail and leisure destination, as well as providing a boost to the city centre’s evening economy.
“We are in detailed discussions with a cinema operator, and a number of restaurant brands have already expressed their desire to be part of the extension.
“This is the most significant and exciting investment in the centre since it opened.”
Mr Thomas added: “We are committed to Peterborough’s success, which is underlined by the great progress we have made in enhancing Queensgate in the first year of Invesco’s ownership and Lend Lease’s asset management.”
In the last 12 months, eight new brands have been added to Queensgate’s line-up and significant improvements have been made to the car parks.
In addition, further investment is being made with a phased plan to upgrade Queensgate’s malls, starting with Westgate Arcade.
Mr Thomas said: “We are also in detailed discussions with a number of leading retailers to open more flagship stores in Queensgate.
“There is significant demand for space at Queensgate from leading retailers and restaurants, which is reflected by the eight new stores to open at the centre in the last 12 months
“So many successes in such a short period of time highlights our desire to ensure Queensgate is a key part of a thriving Peterborough city centre that contains the right mix of shops, restaurants and leisure facilitates which appeal to both local residents and visitors from across the region.
“Our plans to extend Queensgate, adding new retail units, and creating a restaurant hub and cinema offer, are the next stage.”
News of the proposed revamp comes just seven months after a £100 million scheme was unveiled by Bristol-based Hawksworth Securities to develop the North Westgate area, which adjoins the shopping centre.
That development also includes an eight screen multiplex cinema plus a four star hotel.
Mr Thomas said: “We welcome any plans to develop North Westgate and would seek to be actively involved in any proposals given our ownership of part of the area.”
Have your say on centre’s new look
Queensgate’s owners are hosting two exhibitions to give residents and shoppers the chance to make their views known about the new look for the centre.
Invesco and Lend Lease will stage two days of public consultations before the plans are submitted to Peterborough City Council.
Exhibitions of the plans will be held in unit 49, next to The Perfume Shop on East Mall, in Queensgate, on tomorrow from 10am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm.
Members of the Queensgate team, including representatives from Lend Lease, Invesco and the architects, Benoy, will be available to answer questions.
A spokesman for the owners said: “If planning permission is given, the construction works will take place behind screens and there will be minimal disruption for shoppers.
“We hope to start work early next year.”