The creation of the one of the largest retail destinations in the UK has started in Watford town centre.
Around four months of demolition work marks the exciting start of the redevelopment of Charter Place Shopping Centre, after a landmark deal was signed between Watford Borough Council and private sector partner Intu Properties.
Watford’s shopping facilities currently include a relatively modern centre run by Intu Properties with a very outdated, council-owned, 1970s shopping precinct, Charter Place, adjacent to it.
Watford Borough Council negotiated a single land transaction with Intu Properties, who will lead the redevelopment of both centres, creating one of the largest retail offerings in the UK at 1.4m million square feet. The new centre will also deliver a guaranteed increased commercial income for the council, who will remain the freehold owner of the redeveloped centre.
Continuing their 25 years of investment in the town, intu will be creating space for up to 16 shops, 10 restaurants, a nine-screen IMAX cinema and leisure offering. A public square will be created that will host a diverse events programme, such as street art and music shows. The project will create 1,900 new jobs across the construction, retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
The redevelopment of intu is one of a series of major projects that will be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years. More than £1.5 billion worth of investment will be leveraged by the council as part of an ambitious plan which will create thousands of new homes and jobs, with significantly improved services, transport infrastructure and leisure facilities.
Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “I am really pleased to see work begin on this site. This deal that ensures commercial rent means that we can l help make Watford future-proof, so our town remains the wealthy and prosperous place it is today.”