Should Nottingham’s half-finished Broadmarsh Center be overturned?

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Nottingham residents fear semi-demolished shopping center remains unfinished


Owners of Intu shopping centers having called administrators, the future of the half-demolished Broadmarsh Center in Nottingham looks bleak.

The announcement that Intu – the owner of some of Britain’s most prestigious shopping centers – has called administrators has been presented as a significant illustration of the precarious situation on the main street in recent months.

But among the list of well-known sites affected – such as the Trafford Center in Manchester and the Metro Center in Gateshead – was one that caused particular anxiety because of its current state, the Broadmarsh Center in Nottingham.

Described as “a dead whale” and an “open wound”, the Broadmarsh was to undergo a multi-million pound renovation, but development has stalled since the foreclosure and the center is now closed to buyers.

“The redevelopment of Broadmarsh is a saga that has been going on for about 15 years,” said Nelson Blackley. As a retail research associate at Nottingham Business School, he has observed its decline.

“It is slowly fading and today it is holding a semi-demolished shell. “

Image copyright
Tracey Whitefoot

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Work to refurbish the center in neutral during the lockout


He said the city council had two options: redevelop the center as planned, which it said would cost around £ 70 million, or demolish what was left and replace it with other facilities or housing.

“There is a dangerous downward spiral that if Broadmarsh is not revitalized in the near future, it could have a detrimental effect on retailing in the rest of the city. The economic impact on Nottingham is huge, “he said.

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Some residents are in favor of completing the demolition work


The demolition option would be favored by some residents of Nottingham, including members of the city’s civil society.

John Rhodes, vice president of the company and former director of development in the construction industry, said, “The prospect of ending up with the worst-case scenario, the enormous horror of an abandoned building site, is one of great concern for an indefinite period. time. ”

He said the half-built site could have a negative impact on the city’s tourist attractions, including the £ 30 million redevelopment of Nottingham Castle and the City of Caves, which is entering the center commercial.

“It seems that most of the work done so far is demolition work. We advocate the idea of ​​cleaning up the site and holding a design competition to explore opportunities to get the most out of the area. “

Image copyright
Intu

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An artist’s impression of what the long-awaited development of Broadmarsh should have looked like


Currently, city council has said it will move ahead with £ 160 million of work on the area surrounding the 55,000 square foot (590,000 square foot) shopping center site. would include a new college and a library. And he said it was an ongoing dialogue about the future of Broadmarsh.

“We will urgently request administrators for information and assurances about their immediate plans for the two Nottingham centers,” said chief executive David Mellen, who described the administration of Intu as “a major concern”. ”

“At Broadmarsh, good progress was being redeveloped before the global pandemic, but unfortunately the retail sector was particularly hard hit.

“As owners of the land, we have been looking for a number of years to make major improvements to what was a poorly outdated shopping mall, unsuitable for a large 21st century city. Intu’s plans for a leisure center also for retail have been well received.

“The people of Nottingham will rightly feel disappointed. The current situation is extremely disappointing, but we will work to find a way forward. ”

However, Conservative Leader of the Opposition Andrew Rule said that Intu’s administration was “a watershed”.

“Given the current state of the site, it seems highly unlikely that construction will resume in the foreseeable future,” he said. “I would find it unlikely that the administrators would assume the development of Broadmarsh in its current state. “

The story of Broadmarsh

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The mall as it looked in 1998


  • In the Victorian era, the Broad Marsh area consisted of overcrowded shantytowns. However, when the medieval streets were cleaned up to make way for a brutalist mall in the 1970s, there was an outcry
  • In 2002, redevelopment plans for the center were approved. However, the project never progressed under former Westfield owners, and in 2011 the site was purchased by Intu, which owned the most successful Victoria Center in Nottingham.
  • In 2015, Intu presented plans to make the neighborhood a “leisure destination” with a multi-screen cinema, more eating places and a covered “street scene” to revitalize the neighborhood
  • Work began in 2018 but stopped at the start of the lockout and never resumed.

Tim Garratt, president of the Innes England commercial real estate consultancy, called on the authority to view the stalled project as an opportunity.

“The city council has full ownership of this asset, and that is an asset,” he said. “It should be the gateway to the city from the south.

“This is a chance for Nottingham to regain control and people should have a say in what is going on.

“The municipal council must intervene. ”

Meanwhile, Intu’s operations centers – including Nottingham’s other site, the Victoria Center, are expected to remain open under KPMG administrators.

Regarding the future of the unloved Broadmarsh, Blackley said, “If the board is unable to make a decision, the sad reality is that the site will remain on hold. If this is the case, it will significantly damage Nottingham. “

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