Tenders will be invited in summer for the redevelopment of Watford town centre and its existing shopping centre Intu Watford after planning permission was granted for the £100 million scheme by Watford Borough Council.
The development aims to create a Top 20 UK retail destination by refurbishing the existing shopping centre and integrating it with the neighbouring Charter Place shopping centre which is to be substantially demolished and redeveloped, creating 1.4 million sq ft of retail and leisure properties. The plans also include restaurants, a new cinema and a public square to be used for street theatre and music performances.
Construction is to start during 2015 and complete in 2017. Bids will be invited for the main demolition and construction contracts in July and construction will start in May next year.
The development will create around 1,125 new jobs across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and up to 630 construction jobs will be supported during the construction phase.
The existing shopping centre was built in 1992, intended to be a rival to Brent Cross and originally called the Harlequin Centre. Intu was formerly known as Capital Shopping Centres Group.
The scheme's senior asset manager Charlie Griffiths said: “The £100m investment across both shopping centres in Watford will completely transform the town's position in the UK retail rankings, placing it firmly in the top 20.
“The redevelopment will create the very best destination in North London to shop high quality brands and spend leisure time. Our plan is to bring more customers, from further, for longer.”
Photo: Intu Watford