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MetroCentre (shopping centre)

MetroCentre, currently branded as intu Metrocentre, is a shopping centre in the village of Dunston, in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England.

intu Metrocentre
Metro Centre Green Quadrant.jpg
The Green Quadrant of the Metro Centre
LocationGateshead, Tyne and Wear, England
Coordinates54°57′25″N 1°40′08″W / 54.95694°N 1.66889°W / 54.95694; -1.66889Coordinates: 54°57′25″N 1°40′08″W / 54.95694°N 1.66889°W / 54.95694; -1.66889
Opening date14 October 1986; 33 years ago (1986-10-14)
DeveloperCameron Hall Developments
ManagementGavin Prior
OwnerIntu Properties
Church Commissioners
GIC Real Estate[1]
No. of stores and services500
No. of anchor tenants
Total retail floor area2,076,000 sq ft (192,900 m2)[2]
No. of floors2
Parkingalmost 15,000 spaces
Public transit accessMetrocentre Interchange
WebsiteOfficial website

Located on a former industrial site near to the River Tyne, the Metrocentre opened in stages, with the first phase opening on 28 April 1986 and the official opening on 14 October 1986. It has more than 370 shops occupying over 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m2) of retail floor space, making it the second-largest shopping centre in the UK. Additional retail space is available in the adjoining Metro Retail Park and MetrOasis.

The centre was rebranded as intu Metrocentre in 2013 following the renaming of its parent Capital Shopping Centres Group as Intu Properties.[3]

Early historyEdit

 
The logo used from 2004 to 2009; the stylised "M" is based upon the grey-coloured symbol used from 1987
 
The logo used from 2009 to 2013

The Metrocentre's construction was financed by the Church Commissioners of England and was masterminded by Sir John Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments. The ground upon which it is built was purchased for £100,000 in the early 1970s. Access to the development was facilitated by an urban development grant from the Department of the Environment and the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead. In October 1995, the centre was sold to Capital Shopping Centres (now Intu Properties) for £364 million, although the Church Commissioners retained a 10 per cent stake.

Reflecting its Church of England origins, Metrocentre is one of the few European shopping centres to have a full-time resident chaplain. Services are held on special occasions such as Mothering Sunday, Remembrance Sunday, and Christmas.

The Metrocentre has five main malls; Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Platinum. It also has themed shopping areas featuring independent retailers: The Village, formerly known as the Antiques Village; The Forum, formerly known as the Roman Forum; Qube, formerly known as the Mediterranean Village; and houses over 50 restaurants and cafes.

The first phase of the development, the Red Mall, was opened on 28 April 1986. At the time, it featured a large Carrefour supermarket, which later became a Gateway and subsequently an Asda. Metrocentre also featured the first out of town Marks & Spencer.

In 1997, Asda moved from the Metrocentre to a larger stand-alone store nearby, facilitating the redevelopment of the Red Mall. In 2013, the Metrocentre name was amended to include the owner's Intu name as a prefix, becoming Intu Metrocentre.[4]

RefurbishmentEdit

 
The current logo, which has been in use since 2013

Malls and Transport InterchangeEdit

 
The Red Mall extension

When Asda moved out of the main centre, the former store was demolished to make way for an extension and refurbishment of the Red Mall. The redeveloped Red Mall, anchored by a Debenhams department store, opened on 6 October 2004. The programme also included the construction of a new Public Transport Interchange, at the end of the Blue Mall, which replaced the former bus station. It was intended to provide improved bus links to many parts of North East England and accommodate coach services from elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The interchange featured a waiting room at the MetroCentre railway station and electronic display boards. The Metrocentre is not directly connected to the Tyne & Wear Metro system, though regular bus shuttle services provide connections to Monument, Central, and Gateshead Metro stations. The rail link also offers direct access to neighbouring Newcastle upon Tyne city centre.

Metrocentre QubeEdit

On 30 November 2006, centre owner Capital Shopping Centres announced plans to redevelop the centre's Yellow Mall.[5] The Metroland indoor funfair closed in April 2008, and the area including the Mediterranean Village has been reconstructed to become the Metrocentre Qube. With the first phase completed, the Qube contains branches of YO! Sushi and PizzaExpress.

In December 2009, an Odeon cinema opened, it was relocated from the Blue Mall. It included twelve screens, including multiple 3D screens, and an IMAX Digital – the first in the north-east of England. The Namco Funscape is a family entertainment centre (including a ten-pin bowling alley) dodgems and soft play. The Qube's exterior is clad with zinc and glass, to distinguish it as the entertainment part of the centre.[6]

Platinum MallEdit

 
Interior of Red Mall extension in 2007

The former central area of the mall, which known as the Central Mall, has been refurbished and renamed the Platinum Mall. This area focuses on higher-end stores and furnishings, including improved lighting and decor. The development hopes to copy designer outlets much similar to Westfield Shopping Centre's "The Village" mall. In August 2012, the first of the new retailers, 360 Champagne & Cocktails, opened its doors. It soon was followed by Mamas & Papas and H&M Kids. Tessuti designer menswear opened in December 2012 followed by designer footwear retailer Daniel shoes.

Retailers and restaurantsEdit

Many large retail chains are represented in the centre. It is anchored by three main department stores:

Major fashion retailers include Next, Primark, Topshop/Topman, H&M, New Look, River Island, Zara, USC, All Saints, Laura Ashley, Karen Millen and JD Sports.

Other major retailers include LEGO, Argos, Hotel Chocolat, HMV, W H Smith, Jessops, Boots, Carphone Warehouse, Waterstones and Lush. In Autumn 2010 the first TK Maxx/Homesense opened on the site of the old Odeon cinema in the Blue Mall.

On 25 September 2010, the region's second Apple Store was opened at Metrocentre.

In March 2018, a 78,000 sq ft Next store opened, taking twelve shops on the upper floor and the former BHS unit on the lower level to create one of the biggest Next stores in the country.[7][8]

The majority of restaurants are located in Metrocentre Qube, a recently redeveloped area in the Yellow Mall containing bars and restaurants.

Leisure facilitiesEdit

 
The New Metroland, previously Europe's largest indoor amusement park

The centre's leisure facilities consist of a 12 screen Odeon cinema opened in 2010, with VIP lounge and an IMAX screen, and the Namco Funscape, which is an indoor amusement arcade including a dodgem ride and 18-lane ten-pin bowling alley. All of these facilities are located in the Qube area of the redeveloped Yellow Mall. The Odeon cinema was originally located in the Blue Mall.

Former leisure facilitiesEdit

Until its closure on 20 April 2008, the Metrocentre featured an entirely enclosed theme park called Metroland. Renamed The New Metroland following a refurbishment by operators Arlington Leisure in 1996, it was Europe's largest indoor amusement park. Metroland opened in February 1988 at the cost of £20 million. The park featured a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, pirate ship, waltzers, a miniature railway and dodgem cars among its rides.

Its closure made way for redevelopment of the Yellow Mall, including a new Odeon cinema, replacing the existing multiplex in the Blue Mall. On the final weekend of operation (19 and 20 April 2008), the park held the 'Last Ride weekend' where the admission price was £5 for the whole day with unlimited access to all the rides.[5] The park finally closed at 8:00 pm on Sunday 20 April, despite strong local opposition and petitions raising around 4,000 signatures against the closure. Proceeds from the last night of operation went to charity.

The Metroland roller coaster was later relocated to The Big Sheep, a farm-themed amusement park in Abbotsham, northern Devon. The ride entered operation in March 2016. The park offered a free ride to visitors from the north-east of England for a period after the ride's opening.[9][10]

Metro Retail ParkEdit

Metro Retail Park is situated to the west of Metrocentre. It has the layout of a conventional out-of-town retail park, with large stores such as Barker and Stonehouse, NEXT Home and Staples. McDonald's and Pizza Hut are both situated to the south of the Retail Park site (in addition to other sites for both restaurants in Metrocentre itself). Until August 2007, when it was purchased for £82.5 million, the retail park was not under the ownership of Capital Shopping Centres.[11]

Further west of the Retail Park there is a 24-hour Asda Supercentre and an IKEA as well as other retail facilities, while to the south there is a Marriott hotel and office buildings.

metrOasisEdit

The metrOasis retail area, on the perimeter of the shopping centre, opened to the public on 6 September 2012. It is located between the MetroCentre Qube and the Metro Retail Park, on the former site of a petrol station. The development is home to a range of dining and entertainment venues. Construction began in January 2012, and the project opened to the public on 6 September 2012. The retail area includes: a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, a Harvester Restaurants, a Toby Carvery and a drive-thru Starbucks. As of February 2019, Harvester Restaurants closed, and the building is currently being refitted.

Transport linksEdit

Public transportEdit

MetroCentre Interchange was rebuilt in the mid-2000s with an enclosed waiting area and access ramps reserved exclusively for buses and taxis. It is connected to Gateshead Metro station by the regular X66 MetroCentre Shuttle bus service and to Newcastle station via the centre's National Rail station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway.

Rail linksEdit

MetroCentre railway station is on the Tyne Valley Line, which provides regular services to Newcastle, Sunderland Central, Carlisle, Middlesbrough and Northumberland, with a twice-daily service to Glasgow Central, Scotland, via Dumfries, Annan and Kilmarnock.

RoadEdit

Metrocentre has a junction on the A1 road, and northbound this road was widened to three lanes after the centre was built to cope with increased traffic levels. Even so, the centre is responsible for many journeys on the A1, a road through Gateshead which suffers from significant congestion at peak times. A major widening of this stretch of the A1 was completed in June 2016.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead". Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2011. Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead
  2. ^ "intu Annual Report 2018" (PDF). 2018. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ "The connected consumer – the future of shopping centres" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres Group. 17 January 2013. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  4. ^ Soult, Graham (11 July 2013). "Gateshead's Metrocentre prepares for overnight Intu-fication". Soult's Retail Report. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Public Consultation for Yellow and Blue Mall Proposals" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  6. ^ "State-of-the-art IMAX cinema for MetroCentre Odeon". Chronicle Live. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  7. ^ Ford, Coreena. "BHS store in Metrocentre is snapped up by Next, creating new jobs". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  8. ^ Duke, Simon (6 March 2018). "Next opens huge new flagship store at the Metrocentre". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  9. ^ Hodgson, Barbara. "Metroland ride gets rolling again - and North East fans can enjoy a free ride in DEVON". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Devon's Biggest Coaster at The Big Sheep". ThemeParks-UK. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  11. ^ Purchase of Metro Retail Park, Metrocentre, 23 August 2007[dead link]

External linksEdit