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|
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. Its very successful exploitation of its harbour-side situation (cf. Baltimore, USA) and the sympathetic integration of old and new architecture makes an interesting contrast with past redevelopments such as the Tricorn Centre.
The centre contains 95 designer shopping outlets as well as 25 bars and restaurants and the Spinnaker Tower. There is also a 14-screen Vue cinema, a Bowlplex bowling centre with 26 lanes, 2 bars and 13 American sized pool tables, a Jongleurs comedy club, which turns into a nightclub past 10pm, a Tiger Tiger nightclub, a contemporary art gallery, and a 120 bed hotel. There is also a 26 storey Skyscraper under the title Number One (aka Lipstick Tower), built to resemble a funnel. This makes a seafaring composition with the existing sail-like Spinnaker Tower. There are numerous bars, cafes and restaurants located by the waterfront with a view of shipping movements into Portsmouth Harbour.
The waterfront overlooks the Gunwharf Quays Marina which has hosted many national and international sailing events such as the Volvo Ocean Race in Summer 2006. The marina accommodates luxurious multi-million pound superyachts and famous tall ships from around the globe.
The centre is located close to the Historic Dockyard and "Old Portsmouth". It can be accessed quickly from Portsmouth Harbour railway station and "the Hard" bus interchange, or via a relatively short walk from Commercial Road in the city centre.
The Berkeley Group plc was responsible for the development of Gunwharf Quays, which is now owned by Land Securities. The area has also become an extremely affluent residential area of Portsmouth, and houses many luxurious apartment buildings. In 2012, the penthouse at no 1 Gunwharf Quays was on sale for £2.5 million. 
On 22nd May 2012 a fire broke out in the Water Margin Chinese Restaurant at 9.15am to what was described a large blaze. Firefighters believe the blaze started in the ventilation system in the roof space at the Water Margin Chinese Restaurant.
Beach volleyball event
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