A multi-million-pound programme of investment announced today by Ellandi, the privately-owned shopping centre operator, is set to transform Merry Hill shopping centre near Birmingham into a regional retail destination.
Delivered over five years and beginning with a first stage relaunch in September 2021, the £50m+ investment will mean Merry Hill is the first former intu asset to undergo a major transformation, including a new placemaking masterplan for the 2 million sq ft+ centre and surrounding waterfront and leisure destination.
The plans will culminate in Merry Hill setting a new benchmark for how shopping centres can evolve to the changing needs of both occupiers and customers, post-Covid.
The goal of the investment is to build on the best-in-class retail offer provided by occupiers such as Next, JD Sport and Primark; creating a stand-out environment that will secure further leading brands in their flagship formats, and an enhanced leisure offer to provide customers with an exemplary experience unique to Merry Hill. Already, a further 22 units are in negotiation or under offer, totalling over 230,000 sq ft.
Plans include the development of a new family entertainment ‘Leisure District’, allowing visitors of all ages to enjoy a range of non-retail activities and attractions, as well new restaurants.
Existing leisure facilities will undergo substantial upgrades and be better connected to the main mall, while Ellandi’s inclusive estate strategy will continue to build on momentum made in recent years at The Waterfront, which today is home to a variety of independent eateries, shops, the Resonance music academy and community organisation, Black Country Radio and residential units.
The announcement comes as the last main intu sign was removed, with £14 million works to install new decorative interactive panelling outside the centre nearing completion.
Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi, commented: “Despite the pandemic, Merry Hill has seen footfall outperforming city-centre locations and other super-regional shopping centres, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Our plans will ensure that by 2025 Merry Hill will be the West Midland’s most vibrant family lifestyle destination, embedded at the heart of the local community.
“In addition to being able to access a range of both big-name brands and smaller independent business, customers today demand significantly more from shopping centres than they did in years past.
“This investment will not only enhance and complement Merry Hill’s existing retail offering, but also the range of leisure-led, non-retail and food and beverage attractions – delivering a high-quality environment in which shoppers can also spend their days socialising, relaxing and having fun.
“As the lifting of government restrictions affecting non-essential retail and hospitality has revealed, there remains enormous pent-up demand for high-quality, bricks and mortar retail, as evidenced by the 22 deals already completed and the phenomenal interest from new occupiers. However, retail destinations must continue to evolve and keep pace with the rapidly shifting demands of consumers, delivering beautiful, high-quality and diverse locations that offer experiences beyond shopping alone.
“This positive performance and the positive engagement with key stakeholders such as Dudley Metropolitan Council, has given us the confidence to move forward with our plans, building on other investment such as the arrival of the Metro in 2023.”