Intu exchanges on Charter Place shopping centre

Release Date: 24 April 2013

We are very pleased to announce that Intu (formerly Capital Shopping Centres) has acquired Charter Place shopping centre from Watford Borough Council.

Charter Place

The agreement with Intu generates a long-term stable improved financial position for the council - and Watford gets a high quality new shopping centre, without the council having to invest directly.

With exchange completed, intu will submit a planning application for Charter Place in the near future, with the overall aim of integrating Charter Place with the adjacent intu Watford shopping centre (formerly known as The Harlequin).

Intu has invested in Watford for over 24 years and in conjunction with developing Charter Place has plans to refurbish intu Watford, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to the town.

The £100 million investment across both shopping centres is aimed at transforming the town and creating the best place in the region for families to shop and relax. Intu’s plans will focus upon enhancing Watford's overall retail, entertainment and leisure offer, and will include a cinema, exciting restaurant line up, family entertainment, new retail brands and food store at Charter Place.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, said: “Intu has really exciting plans for Watford which supports our strategy of investing in the future of the town. While many other areas of the country are struggling, this is a real vote of confidence for Watford. I’m really pleased with the mix of leisure and retail that will be coming, together with the extra jobs that will be created. I would also like to thank all the staff who have been working on this over the years. The bottom line for me is that Watford residents deserve the best and they’re going to get it."

Jonathan Ainsley, asset management director for intu said: “The exchange means we can really get the wheels in motion developing our plans. Providing a strong mix of leisure, catering and retail is hugely important to Watford, and the creation of our national brand, intu, will go a long way in attracting major modern brands to the town.”

Key outcomes of the agreement for the council include:

  • new high quality retail offer
  • cinema and additional leisure offer
  • new restaurant quarter
  • enclosed market, complimentary to the retail offer
  • upgrade enhancement to Palace car park façade and ramp
  • upgrade enhancement to Beechen Grove and Poundland entrances
  • enhancement to entrances
  • likely income growth for Watford Borough Council, plus we take any income we generate from managing the other three satellite car parks.

The key financial position for Watford Borough Council is:

  • guaranteed £2.075million base rent (£1.8million plus £275,000 car park rent)
  • additional 50% share of net income from Palace car park above £465,000
  • additional rent: 7% of net income from the 'shopping centre' above £8.3million.

In addition to intu’s development plans, the shopper experience will also be greatly enhanced later this year when free high speed WiFi is installed at intu Watford. This forms part of intu’s digital infrastructure plan aimed at integrating the physical and digital world, providing a seamless multi-channel experience for its shoppers.

Intu will start public consultation on the scheme shortly.