// Intu has launched the £72 million leisure extension at Intu Lakeside
// 225,000sq ft expansion set to increase Intu Lakeside’s 20m footfall per year by more than 2m
// The extension is expected to transform Intu Lakeside into a major tourist destination
Intu Lakeside has launched its £72 million leisure extension that is set to transform the south Essex shopping centre into a major tourist destination thanks to an anticipated uplift in footfall.
The 225,000sq ft expansion is expected to increase Intu Lakeside’s 20 million per year footfall by more than two million.
The expansion – along with the £10 million investment for new entrances and overhaul of the mall space linking the leisure extension – has prompted Zara and River Island to invest millions in extending and refurbishing their stores.
The opening of the leisure extension comes also less than a month after Intu submitted a planning application for a £168 million refurbishment of Intu Lakeside.
According to documents submitted to Thurrock Council, the plans include adding around 40,000sq ft of retail space – which would provide space for 30 to 40 new stores and tranform it into a “regional town centre”.
To accommodate the retail expansion, Intu said it would partly demolish the existing Debenhams store and Lakeside’s bus station.
Meanwhile, Puttshack’s second site, one of Hollywood Bowl’s biggest venues and trampoline park operator Flipout have now opened as part of Intu Lakeside’s leisure extension.
A fourth leisure anchor, Nickelodeon’s first UK family entertainment centre, will open in autumn.
The Hall, the first out-of-town concept from food hall operator Market Halls, and a range of other restaurants have all also joined intu Lakeside’s growing dinner offer.
Meanwhile, two former car parks were transformed into the new area which overlooks Intu Lakeside’s 22-acre lake as well as a new 7000sq ft public realm space featuring landscaped areas and integrated lighting, sound and water-powered technology.
“Compelling leisure experiences are well-recognised drivers of shopping centre footfall and dwell time and a project of this scale is a real first for the UK market,” Intu chief executive Matthew Roberts said.
“It has been created to ensure Intu Lakeside remains one of the country’s most popular retail and leisure destinations for many years to come and we have curated a fantastic of mix of flourishing leisure and dining brands to guarantee its success.”
Intu also has plans to demolish a car park and part of House of Fraser to make way for 1000 homes at Intu Lakeside.
Its proposed £168 million retail facelift plus the new homes form part of Intu’s wider five-year turnaround strategy launched after CVAs from various retailer tenants left a dent in its rental income.
Under this new strategy, Intu is exploring additional opportunities to build new homes, hotels and flexible-working spaces to help transform its shopping centres nationwide.