The new owners of a major shopping centre in Hampshire has confirmed it is in the process of finalising plans to rejuvenate the precinct.
Real estate firm AEW, which acquired Festival Place in Basingstoke in December last year, is undertaking a number of new initiatives to enhance the 1.1 million sq ft shopping centre.
These will include improvements to St John’s Square and the quality and efficiency of the car park.
AEW also anticipates there would be significant changes in the retailer line-up over the next 12 months to help increase footfall and dwell times.
Works have already started on St John’s Square (pictured above), which will be transformed into a bright and spacious outdoor area. Metro Bank will open there in December 2016 and is expected to become the catalyst for the square, thanks to a 25-year lease for a prominent 14,000sq ft unit.
AEW Europe head of private equity Russell Jewell said securing a lease to Next earlier this year helped create momentum, with another series of high street names coming to be announced soon.
“We’re in talks with several new brands interested in taking space at Festival Place,” he said.
Next will double its floor space to 48,000sq ft across to two-levels and is scheduled to open in January.
Festival Place has a footfall of 20 million a year and is home to household retail names such as Superdry, Zara, Apple, River Island, New Look and H&M, plus a series of entertainment and restaurant options.