MetroCentre (shopping centre)

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intu Metrocentre
Intu Metrocentre Logo.png
Location Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England
Opening date Phase 1 opened on 28 April 1986 and the official opening was 14 October 1986
Developer Cameron Hall Developments
Management Gavin Prior
Owner Intu Properties
Church Commissioners
GIC Real Estate[1]
No. of stores and services Over 340
No. of anchor tenants 6
Total retail floor area 2,093,000 sq ft (194,400 m2)[2]
Parking almost 10,000 spaces
No. of floors 2
Website www.intumetrocentre.co.uk

The MetroCentre (styled corporately as intu Metrocentre and on road signs as Metro Centre) is a shopping centre in the United Kingdom.

Located in Gateshead, near Newcastle upon Tyne, on a former industrial site close 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 340 shops occupying 2,093,000 square feet (194,400 m2) of retail floor space, making it the largest shopping and leisure centre in the UK.[3] Additional retail space is available in the adjoining Metro Retail Park and MetrOasis.

The centre began its rebranding as intu Metrocentre on 15 April 2013 following the renaming of parent Capital Shopping Centres Group plc as "intu properties plc".[4]

Origins[edit]

Logo 2006-2009
Logo 2009-2013

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 a mere £100,000 in the early '70s. 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 for £364m, although the Church Commissioners retained a 10% stake.

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

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, and Qube, formerly known as the Mediterranean Village, and houses over 50 restaurants and cafes.

The first phase of Metrocentre was opened on 28 April 1986 - the red mall. At the time it featured a large Carrefour supermarket, which later became Gateway and subsequently Asda.

The Metro Centre also featured the first out of town Marks & Spencer.

In the 1990s, Asda moved from Metrocentre to a larger stand-alone store nearby, facilitating the redevelopment of the Red Mall.

Metrocentre is part of 'Intu Properties plc'.

MetroCentre

Refurbishment[edit]

Malls and Transport Interchange[edit]

The Red Mall extension

Asda's move out of the main centre was planned so that its former store could be demolished to make way for an extension and refurbishment of the Red Mall. The new Red Mall, anchored by a new Debenhams department store, opened on 6 October 2004. The refurbishment programme also included a new Public Transport Interchange at the end of the Blue Mall. It replaced the old bus station and was intended to provide improved bus links to many parts of North East England and accommodate coach services from elsewhere in the UK.

The new interchange features electronic display boards and a new waiting room at the MetroCentre railway station. Metrocentre is not directly connected to the Tyne and Wear Metro System though regular bus shuttle services provide connections to Monument, Central Station and Gateshead Metro stations. The rail link also provides direct access to neighbouring Newcastle upon Tyne city centre. (see Transport Links below).

Metrocentre Qube[edit]

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 has been reconstructed to become the Metrocentre Qube. With the first phase completed, the Qube contains branches of YO! Sushi and PizzaExpress.

A new Odeon cinema (relocated from the Blue Mall) opened in December 2009 and includes 12 digital 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 new ten-pin bowling alley)dodgems and soft play. The Qube exterior is made from clad zinc and glass to distinguish it as the entertainment part of the centre.[6]

Platinum Mall[edit]

The former central area of the centre 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 new retailer, 360 Champagne & Cocktails, opened its doors closely followed by Mamas & Papas and H&M Kids. Tessuti designer menswear opened in December 2012 followed by designer footwear retailer Daniel shoes.

Shops and food/drink[edit]

Many large retail chains are represented in the centre. It is anchored by 3 main department stores:

Major fashion retailers include British Home Stores, Next, Primark, Topshop/Topman, H&M, New Look, River Island, Zara, USC, All Saints, Tucci, Laura Ashley, Karen Millen, French Connection, G-Star RAW and JD Sports.

Other major retailers include Argos, Hotel Chocolat, HMV, W H Smith, Jessops, Boots, Carphone Warehouse, Modelzone 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.

The majority of restaurants are located in Metrocentre Qube, a recently redeveloped area in the Yellow Mall containing bars and restaurants. These include Zizzi, Frankie and Benny's, Nandos, PizzaExpress, Big Lukes, Yo! Sushi, Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Japenese restaurant Ikuze. Other restaurants located in the centre include McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King and Wetherspoons.

Leisure facilities[edit]

The New Metroland, previously Europe's largest indoor amusement park, before the area was refurbished as the Qube

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 arcarde including a dodgem ride and 18 lane 10-pin bowling alley. All of these facilities are located in the MetroCentre Qube area of the redeveloped Yellow Mall. The Odeon cinema was originally located in the Blue Mall.

Former leisure facilities[edit]

Until its closure on 20 April 2008, 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 a 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 & 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 8:00pm 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.

Metro Retail Park[edit]

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, Toys R Us, 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 the retail park was not actually under the ownership of Capital Shopping centres (intu); it was purchased for £82.5 million.[7]

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.

metrOasis[edit]

A new retail area, metrOasis, is now complete on the perimeter of the shopping centre. Located between the new 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. The project began construction in Jan 2012 and opened to the public on 6 September 2012. metrOasis includes Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Harvester Restaurants, Toby Carvery and a drive-thru Starbucks.

Transport links[edit]

Public transport[edit]

Metrocentre's transport interchange was rebuilt in the mid-2000s with an enclosed waiting area and new 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 Central Station via the centre's own National Rail station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway.

Major bus links include:

  • S1 - Local shuttle service serving the MetroCentre complex and the surrounding retail park, as well as the Watermark development, it is run by Go North East.
  • 10/10A/10B - TEN|10 Limited Stop Shuttle serving Blaydon to the west and Newcastle to the east. It is run by Go North East and provides links to Crawcrook, Newcastle, Blaydon, Prudhoe and Hexham.
  • 31/47 - Toon Link - Half-hourly services serving Winlaton (31) and Blackhall Mill/Chopwell (47) in the west and Newcastle and Central Station in the east. It is run by Go North East.
  • 43/44 - Diamond - Four hourly bus service from Durham City - Stanley - MetroCentre and Newcastle. It is run by Go North East.
  • 45/46 - The Red Kite - Four Hourly bus service to Consett and Shotley Bridge via the Derwent Valley and The Red Kite Trail in the west, and Newcastle and Central Station in the east. It is run by Go North East
  • 49/49B/49C - The Blaydon Racers - Services every 10 minutes connecting Gateshead and Winlaton with Metrocentre Shopping Centre and metrOasis.
  • 67 - Pulse - Hourly service connect Metrocentre with Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Felling Square and Wardley. It is run by Go North East.
  • 96/96A/97 - The Highwayman - Frequent services serving the surrounding villages and Gateshead town. It is run by Go North East
  • X22/X88 - Metrocentre Weekend Services - Hourly weekend services connecting Durham, Birtley and Chester-le-Street (X22) and Concord and Washington (X88) to the Metrocentre. It is run by Go North East.

Rail links[edit]

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

Road[edit]

Metrocentre has its own junction on the A1 road and northbound this road was widened to three lanes after Metrocentre was built to cope with increased traffic levels. Even so the centre is responsible for many journeys onto the A1, a road which through Gateshead suffers from significant congestion at peak times.

Air and sea[edit]

National and international visitors can reach the centre via air using Newcastle Airport. Alternatively, it is possible to travel by ferry to North Shields from the Netherlands.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead". Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. Retrieved 10 December 2011. "Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead" 
  2. ^ "CSCnbsp;– Shopping Centres - MetroCentre". Capital Shopping Centres. Retrieved 14 Dec 2012. 
  3. ^ "CSC Retail – Our Centres - MetroCentre". Capital Shopping Centres. Retrieved 14 Dec 2012. "Metrocentre was the original mega mall and remains Europe's largest covered shopping and leisure centre today." 
  4. ^ "The connected consumer – the future of shopping centres" (Press release) (in English). Capital Shopping Centres Group. 17 January 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Public Consultation for Yellow and Blue Mall Proposals" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2006-11-30. 
  6. ^ "State-of-the-art IMAX cinema for MetroCentre Odeon". Chronicle Live. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  7. ^ Purchase of Metro Retail Park, Metrocentre, 23 August 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°57′25″N 1°40′08″W / 54.95694°N 1.66889°W / 54.95694; -1.66889