Planning permission is being sought for the development which will include new retail space, a multiplex cinema and leisure complex, in addition to the 51,893 sq.ft of new F&B space.
Charlie Griffiths, asset manager for Intu Charter Place, told BigHospitality that early discussions with prospective operators have been ‘incredibly positive’, with several restaurants already pushing to commit to the scheme.
“We are talking to some exciting brands, many of whom are looking for their first expansion out of London, along with some more family friendly brands,” said Griffifths. “The close proximity to a multiplex cinema and the opportunity to be part of a 1.4 million sq.ft shopping centre, on a high street with one of the most affluent catchments in the country is generating a great deal of interest.”
The application follows a public consultation online and at Intu Watford, which discovered that 91 per cent of believed Charter Place needed to change, supporting Intu’s proposals for more shops and leisure facilities.
New hospitality jobs
Jonathan Ainsley, Intu’s asset management director, added: “The £100m investment across both Watford shopping centres is aimed at transforming Watford and creating the best place in the region for people to shop high quality brands and spend their leisure time”
The proposed development will create around 1,125 additional new jobs across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Construction is expected to start during 2015, with the new destination scheduled to open in 2017.
With over 17 million sq ft of retail space valued at over £7bn, Intu owns ten of the UK’s top 25 shopping centres. The firm has an investment plan of £1bn over the next ten years on active management projects and major extensions at most of its centres.
It recently announced plans to open a fourth Circle 360 Champagne & Cocktails bar at Lakeside shopping centrein Essex, while work has begun on an 'innovative' new dining quarter at Lakeside shopping centre,which will see 13 new food operators take up space there alongside existing brands Pizza Express, Ed's Easy Diner, Burger King and KFC.