Bluewater (shopping centre)
|Location||Greenhithe, Kent, England|
|Opening date||16 March 1999|
|Management||Lend Lease Retail|
|Owner||Prudential plc (35%),
Lend Lease Europe Limited (30%),
The Lend Lease Retail Partnership (25%), and
|No. of stores and services||330|
|No. of anchor tenants||3|
|Total retail floor area||1,675,955 ft2 (155,700 m2)|
|Parking||13,000 cars, 50 coaches|
|No. of floors||2/3 in parts|
Bluewater is an out of town shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent, England, outside the M25 Orbital motorway, 17.8 miles (28.6 km) east south-east of London's centre. Opened on 16 March 1999 after three years of building, the site including car parks occupies 240 acres (97 ha) quarried for chalk and has a sales floor area of 154,000 m2 (1,600,000 ft2) over two levels, making it the fourth-largest shopping centre in the UK (after the MetroCentre, Trafford Centre and Westfield Stratford City). Elsewhere in Europe only Istanbul's Cevahir Mall and Vienna's (Vösendorf) Shopping City Süd are bigger. The floor plan is a triangular shape with 330 stores, including 3 anchors, 40 cafés and restaurants, and a 13-screen cinema. The centre employs 7,000 people and serves over 27 million visitors a year. A main rival is the Lakeside Shopping Centre and retail park by road 8 miles (13 km) away in West Thurrock, Essex, just across the River Thames or 3.2 miles (5.1 km) point-to-point.
In 1994, quarry operator Blue Circle approached Australian mall developer Lend Lease to form a partnership. Instead, Lend Lease bought the land and the project from Blue Circle, and under the leadership of its CEO Peter Walichnowski gathered a group of major investors, which included: Prudential, Barclays Mercantile, Hermes (acting for Britel), Lloyds Leasing, and Royal Bank Leasing. Lend Lease also formed a pool of minor investors, called the Lend Lease Retail Partnership, with 18 institutions and corporations.
John Lewis was the first major tenant to sign up in February 1995, albeit with major concessions, such as the offer of 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m2), one-fifth of the entire floor space, on three levels. This gave Bluewater credibility to sign more names, including the two other anchor stores: House of Fraser followed in June 1996 by Marks & Spencer. 90% of the retail space was committed by March 1998.
Construction, undertaken by Bovis Lend Lease, started on 1 May 1996. At its peak, the site employed 2,500 workers simultaneously. In all, 20,000 people worked 11.5 million hours on the construction of Bluewater. At the planned opening date, 16 March 1999, Bluewater was inaugurated with 99% of the shops open for business. The total cost of construction was around GBP £400 million.
In May 2009, Bluewater introduced a code of conduct to ban swearing, clothing that obscures the face (including hoods and baseball caps), and groups of more than five without the intention to shop. The policy has divided opinion, although Tony Blair did show support.
In late 2006, Dartford Borough Council granted planning permission for Bluewater to build a two-story events venue of 5200 m2, and further extend the south side of the centre. Construction began in early 2010 and when completed added more restaurants to the cinema section, including a Jamie's Italian, Wagamamas and Browns. The events centre has two floors, and has held events such as the BBC's Good Food Show: Spring. There is disabled access and are lifts.
- Bluewater | Home
- Bluewater | Corporate
- Bovis' reputation is cornering the shopping market Contract Journal, 17 September 1997
- Emma Dorreen, editor/project manager; Michael Evamy, writer (1999). Vision to Reality. London: Lend Lease. ISBN 0-9537054-0-4.
- BBC news-Bluewater introduces code of conduct
- Booth, Jenny (12 May 2005). "Timesonline-Bluewater introduces code of conduct". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- BBC news-events venue
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