Broadmarsh: how long must we wait?
THIS is the Broadmarsh Centre one year after it was bought by Capital Shopping Centres – half empty, under-used and uninviting. Little has changed – and it needs to.
CSC paid around £75m for the dated mall, an overnight deal clinched in Australia with its former owners, Westfield.
CSC's ownership of the Victoria Shopping Centre means that the company plays a vital role in Nottingham life, its success and its ambitions. It controls about 1.5m square feet of the city centre shopping area.
Broadmarsh Centre was in desperate need of refurbishment at the time of the deal. A refurbishment and extension costing £500m had been promised by Westfield for more than ten years.
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Victoria Centre is looking tired and is in need of investment.
A year into new ownership, Broadmarsh remains forlorn, unloved, an ugly entrance to the city centre from the south.
It is a poor barbican for a Core City such as Nottingham with its fine architecture and spaces. Of the 450,000 sq ft, about half is empty or underused. Retailers complain that the centre is not in a position to drive footfall and sales. It is desperate and it is sad. And it gives a false impression of Nottingham, that it is a city of pound shops.
We were once a top city for the quality of shops but no more. The city slipped down the retail rankings to seventh place..
Twelve months on, it is time for CSC to raise its game.
Earlier this year, its chief operating officer, Mike Butterworth, suggested the city's streetscape was looking weary and in need of investment, that Bridlesmith Gate and Clumber Street linking the two centres should be spruced up.
To suggest CSC is doing nothing would be wrong. It has appointed international architects Benoy to come up with ideas for the redesign of Broadmarsh. It has the potential to be a beacon with huge opportunities if CSC wants to seize them. Two new tramlines and a new train hub at the railway station have the potential to drive huge footfall increasing the quality of tenants.
There is the opportunity for a new tram stop at Broadmarsh.
Future generations might fail to understand if these opportunities are not seized.
Today, we urge CSC to share its thoughts about its vision and the scale of its ambitions for both shopping centres – and Nottingham..
And, as a gesture of good faith, a first step might be to appoint a senior member of its management team to continue improvements to the city's street scene which it wants to see.
Nottingham must not be allowed to wither.