Open all hours
Meadowhall is Yorkshire’s premier shopping destination. So it seemed fitting to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a major refurbishment.
But how do we achieve this without disrupting trade? British Land’s Claire Barber explains all.
“Meadowhall is big in every sense of the word,” says the Head of Shopping Centre Asset Management.
“It’s one of only six super-regional shopping centres in the UK. We’re talking around 1.4 million sq ft of retail and leisure space. The footfall is equally large too. This place attracts over 25 million shoppers a year.
“British Land has owned this development since 1999 and its one of our most prized retail assets. Maintaining it is no mean feat though. We’ve got over 300 shops here – that’s a lot of tenants we have to keep happy.
“The £50 million refurbishment we’re launching this year is easily the most ambitious to date. It will see us create new districts within the centre – plus new way finding, mall seating and some pretty dramatic lighting artwork. We’re expecting the whole project to take around two and a half years.
“Logistically, the major obstacle – as with all refurbishments of this kind – is keeping the shops open. It’s vital for us and our clients that this work doesn’t affect their trade. So we’ve had to plan meticulously to make sure that doesn’t happen. As a result, a lot of the construction is scheduled to happen out of hours. Ensuring the centre is ready to open every morning will be a challenge.
“Like the overnight engineering work that happens on trains, one setback could cause delays. But it’s a challenge we’ve met successfully before. In 2011, we managed to completely refurbish the Food Court – without any disruptions to trade.”