Stanhope, the developer of the £90 million Old Market in Hereford city centre, is delighted to confirm that the first shops will open their doors on Thursday 1 May. Due to accelerated works on site, including night working and an increased workforce, the construction team has been able to condense the works programme to allow the first stores – including Debenhams and Waitrose – to open in time for the public to enjoy over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
This initial opening will be followed by a series of individual store openings over subsequent weeks and months, culminating in a celebration event over several days in August.
Old Market had originally been targeting an opening date of 17 April, but was forced to move the date earlier this month when the project was unable to recoup the time that had been lost as a result of the extreme weather conditions at the beginning of the year, among other things. However, developer Stanhope and lead contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine are still on track to open in advance of the actual contract programme.
Gary Bourne, Director at Stanhope, comments,
“With just a matter of weeks to go before the doors of Old Market’s first stores open, we are extremely excited and eager to let the people of Hereford see this new £90m investment in their city, which has been some time in the making but is now in arm’s reach! When we were forced to revise the opening from 17 April, we set 9 May as an appropriate revision, but given the pace at which work has progressed recently, we are delighted to now bring this forward to allow some retailers to open their doors earlier. All hands are to the pump and we look forward to the first retailers opening on 1 May.”
The development will raise Hereford city centre into the ranks of the Top 100 retail destinations in the UK for the first time and is the only major new retail-led development that will open in the UK this year. It will provide Hereford with a huge Debenhams department store, complete with its own restaurant and a 23,000 sq ft Waitrose that will offer a café along with a delicatessen, bakery and meat, fish, cheese counters and Waitrose Delivery Services.
Later in May, the city’s first fully digital six-screen Odeon cinema will launch, providing a vastly improved evening economy for the city alongside a host of restaurants offering cuisines from Italian to Mexican. The confirmed dining line-up comprises Zizzi, Frankie & Benny’s, Miller & Carter, Nando’s, Chimichanga, Costa and Prezzo, with more names in very advanced negotiations.
With a retailer list that includes TK Maxx, Next, H&M, Outfit, L’Occitane, Fatface and Clarks and a run of sought-after new names currently being signed up to take the smaller store units, the development is now 93 per cent pre-let or under offer by square footage. This is an exceptionally high level compared with other new complexes built in recent years.
Old Market has been developed by Stanhope in close partnership with Herefordshire Council and was refined on the back of the input of hundreds of local people and the local business community following extensive public consultation. In 2012, British Land forward funded the scheme in the first such deal to have happened nationally since 2008, underlining the confidence felt nationally, both in Old Market and in Hereford as a key trading location.
The development will bring about 1,100 jobs and will provide the missing links in Hereford’s retail and leisure offer to allow people to remain in Hereford, avoiding trips to competitor shopping locations across the region. The effect of this is expected to raise Hereford’s shopper population by over 155,000 people, which could help boost the city turnover by some £100m.