Shopping centre giant Intu has submitted an application to refurbish two of the areas within Intu Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle, with plans to create a ‘destination dining quarter’ as part of the £17m development.
The new dining quarter will comprise 21 units across both tiers of the Sidgate and High Friars malls. It is expected to include a mix of casual and fine-dining restaurant operators, should the planning permission be granted.
“We want to deliver high-quality catering which will meet the high demand from our shoppers,” said Intu’s asset management director Martin Breeden.
“Intu Eldon Square will become an even better place for people to spend quality time together and we are looking forward to bringing some great new names and concepts to the city.”
Intu Eldon Square’s dining quarter will offer Grade II-listed facades and views over Old Eldon Square, Greys Monument and the Grainger Town Conservation Area. A number of restaurant operators ‘have expressed great interest in the project’ with many reportedly looking to use the scheme to bring new concepts to the UK.
The development will add to the growth in tourism and business that Newcastle is currently experiencing, following a number of recent hotel openings. It is expected that around 250 permanent jobs will be created once the new F&B outlets are open.
Pat Ritchie, chief executive of Newcastle City Council, said: "The council is working hard with longstanding partners Intu to drive growth and create jobs in the local economy by increasing the vibrancy and competitiveness of the city's retail offer.
“We look forward to seeing the details and the proposal will be subject to all necessary statutory approvals. Investing in our city, supporting business and creating the right conditions for growth are critical to our future we are playing an active part.
“This proposed new destination dining quarter will add to the distinctiveness of the city centre and underline Newcastle's attractiveness as a key destination."
Once planning permission is granted, work will start in early 2014 for an opening around Easter 2015. Intu is already investing heavily in the shopping centre which is currently undergoing a £22m refreshment and modernisation programme; enhancing existing malls, upgrading ceilings and interiors and building a new main entrance to the centre.