SouthGate Place, the central plaza
|Location||Bath, Somerset, England|
|Opening date||4th November 2009|
|Developer||Multi Development UK|
|Owner||Lend Lease Group|
|Architect||Chapman Taylor, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, T+T Design|
|No. of stores and services||56|
|No. of anchor tenants||1 (Debenhams)|
SouthGate is a shopping centre in Bath, Somerset, England, It is home to over 50 shops, 6 restaurants, 99 homes and an 860-space underground car park. It replaced a shopping centre which was demolished in 2007. The new centre developed by Multi Corporation UK is more than double the size of the previous space and provides 37,000 sq metres of retail space, 3,500 sq metres of leisure space, 2,300 sq metres of restaurant space plus 99 residential units. It was designed by Chapman Taylor to mimic Georgian architecture with a Bath stone facade; the infrastructure of the buildings is modern concrete. The owners are the Lend Lease Group.
On the site prior to this development was the Southgate Shopping Centre designed by Owen Luder, architect of the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth and Trinity Square Carpark in Gateshead; and, on the east half of the site, the former Bath bus station. The Bath bus station was demolished and a new bus station was opened to the south of the site and just to the west of the main Bath Spa railway station.
The new SouthGate precinct occupies roughly the west half of an area of land once known as The Ham that existed up until around the time of Jane Austen. The Ham was outside the line of the original city wall, which at one time formed The Ham's north border. (The first section of that wall, starting at the city's south gate, ran east roughly along the present-day New Orchard Street.) The Ham is remembered in the name Ham Gardens, a small street towards the north side of the precinct off Philip Street.
After the area for the new precinct had been cleared of the 1960s/1970s buildings, and before construction of the precinct's underground car park was started, an extensive archaeological project was carried out by Museum of London Archaeology Service to expose, study, and preserve underground structures such as sections of the original city wall, the 17th century 'Bum Ditch', a well and cellars from the 18th century, and the 19th century cobbles of the original Marchant's Passage.
On 23 September 2008, there was a serious fire on the construction site, caused by gas cylinders. There was a large fireball, with one explosion reaching higher than the surrounding cranes. Surrounding streets were closed while the fire was tackled. Trains did not stop at the station during the fire for safety.
The new precinct opened in three phases. Phase one opened on 4 November 2009, Phase two in May 2010, and the final phase in August 2010.
The residential units were released to market on 16 April 2011. These are on the second floor of St. Lawrence House and the second and third floors of Philip House, Marchant House, and Southgate House.
SouthGate is formed of six buildings: St. Lawrence House, Philip House, Debenhams, Block E/F (which has an arcade, Little SouthGate, running through it at ground level), Marchant House, and Southgate House. Bridges connecting Block E/F with Marchant House, and Marchant House with Southgate House, provide continuous goods delivery access between these blocks for the commercial units.
The area has seven pedestrianised streets and a central plaza (SouthGate Place), and is bordered by New Orchard Street, Manvers Street, Dorchester Street, and Southgate Street. The names of the new pedestrianised streets follow the names of streets that previously occupied similar positions on the site (Philip Street, Newark Street, Railway Street, etc.), although Marchant's Passage (named after Abraham Marchant, a firefighter who died trying to rescue a girl from a fire in Union Street in 1815) has been reborn as New Marchant's Passage. The street sign for New Marchant's Passage is missing the apostrophe.
Block E/F was designed to accommodate restaurants on the first floor and, on the upper floor, a leisure centre, including a swimming pool under the large central glass roof. Both the first and upper floors feature outdoor balconies facing into SouthGate Place through Georgian columns spanning the two levels. The developers were unable to find a tenant to operate the planned leisure centre and the floor has been re-purposed as office space. However, the plans for the first floor were fulfilled with Jimmy's World Grill & Bar taking approximately half the floor (entrance on Dorchester Street) and Cosy Club taking the other half (entrance on SouthGate Place). Cosy Club's space includes the first-floor balcony facing into SouthGate Place.
In late 2011, Multi started developments to more closely integrate Bath Spa railway station and Bath bus station with SouthGate, and redevelop some of the railway station car park and northern ramp into a restaurant complex set amid Brunel’s railway arches at a cost of £12 million.
The centre is anchored by Debenhams and has over 50 other shops, including Currys, Topman/Topshop, H&M, New Look, Apple Store, Build A Bear Workshop, Superdry, Urban Outfitters, Fat Face, River Island, Republic, and Boots.
Currys is the only shop that has been continuously present for over forty years: it was in Southgate Street up until the early 1970s, was then in the old Southgate Shopping Centre, and is now in the new SouthGate and is a Currys PCWorld 2-1 store.
SouthGate now hosts several apartment zones (Southgate House, Marchant House, Philip House & St. Lawrence House) collectively marketed as The Residence. The apartments have private rooftop gardens.
- "Six days to SouthGate opening day". Bath Chronicle. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "SouthGate Redevelopment Project". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- United Kingdom – Bath – SouthGate
- Fire drama rocks city centre, Bath Chronicle, 23 September 2008.
- Explosion rocks Bath city centre, BBC News, 23 September 2008.
- Bath Explosion and Fire, YouTube, 23 September 2008.
- Fire in centre of Bath engulfs shopping centre, The Daily Telegraph, 23 September 2008.
- "First image of £12m Bath restaurant scheme". Bath Chronicle. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Bath Southgate Transport Interchange" (PDF). Southgate Bath. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Top-brand retailers attracted by SouthGate's selling points, SouthWest Business, 27 May 2010.
- Tasty prospects in store for new shopping centre, SouthWest Business, 27 May 2010.
- Mini mall open for business as top-notch shops move in, SouthWest Business, 28 October 2010.