Metrocentre announces £11m extension plan

New operators are heading to the Metrocentre after planning permission was granted for an extension

The Qube quadrant at the Metrocentre

New operators are heading to the intu Metrocentre after its owners were granted permission to extend the entertainment area.

Intu Properties plc, the owner of the Gateshead shopping complex as well as intu Eldon Square in Newcastle, has announced it has been granted permission to extend the Qube, a popular area attracting thousands of visitors a week with its Odeon Imax cinema and array of restaurants.

The business has now been given consent for a 45,000 sq ft area next to the cinema, adding 11 more catering outlets and attracting a clutch of new operators to the area.

The firm said it anticipates securing sufficient pre-letting to start construction this year, to open in 2015, with the expected investment for the Qube II plans by intu totalling £11m.

The firm said it is also proceeding with its repositioning of the Platinum Mall “to create a more aspirational ambience”.

Gavin Prior, general manager of intu Metrocentre, said: “The continued investment by intu ensures that we will continue to deliver an outstanding shopping and dining experience to our customers at intu Metrocentre.

“Our research indicates that there is a demand for more aspirational brands and dining within the centre.

“The new Platinum Mall, which will be complete in summer this year along with the extension of the Qube leisure and restaurant mall shortly after, enables us to deliver what our customers want as part of their shopping experience here at the centre.”

The plans were announced in intu Properties plc’s final year results, which saw profits for the year more than doubling from £159m to £364m,

The company said it has “advanced considerably” in 2013 with profit for the year more than doubling from £159m to £364m,

The developer, owner and manager of prime regional shopping centres across the UK and Spain saw net rental income rise by 1.9% from £363m in 2012 to £370m in its full-year results, announced on the London Stock Exchange.

Underlying earnings per share dropped slightly, from 16.1p to 15p, reflecting the £10m impact of tenants who went into administration in late 2012 and early 2013. Intu also detailed a UK development pipeline of some £1.2bn over the next 10 years.

David Fischel, chief executive, said: “The benefits to customers, retailers and staff from our rebranding as intu have surpassed our expectations.”

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