Work begins on £2m revamp at the Galleries shopping centre
BRISTOL'S Galleries shopping centre is in line for a major revamp following the arrival of a new tenant.
The owners of the indoor mall have announced a £2 million makeover which will see its layout radically altered. The food court at the centre in Broadmead is to be moved down a floor and a new anchor-store will be created in its place.
The Galleries was badly hit by the recession and has seen a number of key tenants go out of business over the last three years. But the new owners, who took over just over a year ago, have been busy trying to breath new life into the centre.
The HSBC-owned InfraRed European Active Real Estate Fund bought the centre for a knockdown £50 million at the start of last year. The company promised to invest in the centre in the hope of attracting new tenants and to fight off increased competition from the likes of Cribbs Causeway and Cabot Circus.
One of the first moves was to reinstate the Galleries brand and the new owners also made changes to the layout, including moving the escalators.
Work has already begun on the latest improvements, which are expected to take around six months to complete. The changes in the layout will affect around 30,000 square feet of shopping space, along with some of the aisles and public spaces.
Most of the changes will come about because the new tenants, 99p Stores, wanted a larger shop than was on offer under the existing lay-out.
Despite the imminent arrival of a new cut-price tenant the landlords are adamant that the aim is not to go down-market.
Centre manager Colin Lang said: "The habits of shoppers have changed as a result of the recession and although people are still willing to spend many they are still looking for good value."
The work will see the relocation of the food court from its current location on the top floor to an all new position on the middle floor.
The new food court already has long-term tenants signed up including Burger King, Fat Jackets, Butlers and Perfect Pizza.
The changes will also include brand new toilets on the middle floor, with extra disabled facilities and a new baby change area.
Hussein Lalani of 99p Stores said: "We wanted a Bristol City Centre store for some time but prior to our dialogue with The Galleries Shopping Centre we were unable to find the perfect location."