British Land opened it's £84 million Whiteley Shopping Centre off the M27 between Portsmouth and Southampton yesterday.
The new high street style development is anchored by a 60,000 sq ft M&S, and includes Topshop, River Island, Next and H&M. Seven locally owned businesses have taken space there as well as the national names. Market Square itself will provide space for a variety of independent markets.
The centre also provides 1,500 car parking spaces. It replaces the failed ‘Whiteley elephant’ outlet centre development which was demolished in 2011, and is only the second major retail development to open in the UK so far this year.
The Mamas & Papas store brought in Denise Van Outen to declare their emporium open, but the Spring Bank holiday gives all the stores the excuse for a prolonged five day opening extravaganza.
The 30,000 m2 scheme has 58 shops and restaurants and has been awarded a BREEAM excellent rating. The high quality public spaces and landscaped areas feature 15 specially commissioned bronze sculptures of woodland creatures.
The scheme was developed in conjunction with private sector pension fund the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
Charles Maudsley, Head of Retail for British Land, said: "Whiteley incorporates elements from both shopping centres 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."
The letting agents for the project are Cushman & Wakefield (retail), Wilkinson Williams (retail) and Davis Coffer Lyons (leisure).