The East Plaza at Gunwharf Quays
|Location||Portsmouth, Hampshire, England|
|No. of stores and services||93 plus a cinema, 25 bars and restaurants|
|No. of floors||2|
Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth is a premium retail destination with 90 outlet stores and 30 restaurants, bars and cafés. Gunwharf Quays plays host to a 14-screen cinema, 26-lane bowling complex, contemporary art gallery, casino, hotel and nightclub.
The waterfront overlooks Gunwharf Quays Marina which can accommodate all types of craft including luxury yachts up to 80 metres and has often played host to national and international sailing events. The Berkeley Group plc was responsible for the development of Gunwharf Quays, which is now owned by Land Securities. The area has also become a residential area of Portsmouth, and houses many apartment buildings. In 2012, the penthouse at no 1 Gunwharf Quays was on sale for £2.5 million
The Gunwharf Quays was an important part of the Portsmouth Naval dockyard in the days of sailing ships. Sailing ships required periodic checking and maintenance (and often repair after a naval battle). This often necessitated the ship being placed into a dry dock. However, a ship could not be placed in dry dock with its guns on board as the weight would severely damage the wooden structure once the support of the sea water was lost and the keel took all the weight of the ship and its contents. The ship would offload all of its guns at one of the Gunwharf Quays before being dry docked. As ships and armaments developed, the requirement to offload the armament diminished, and the Gunwharf Quays fell into disuse. The site was used to construct the Royal Navy shore establishment HMS Vernon in 1876.
Following several naval restructures and mergers, HMS Vernon ceased to be an independent command and was renamed HMS Nelson (Vernon site) on the 31st March 1986. In 1987 it was renamed again to HMS Nelson (GunWharf) although locally it continued to be known as HMS Vernon. Following many more reorganisations and mergers, all of HMS Nelson (Gunwharf)'s operations were deployed elsewhere, and it ceased operations in 1995. The site was subsequently sold for redevelopment.
The development opened as Gunwharf Quays on 28 February 2001. The concept for the redevelopment was by the local firm HGP Architects.
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