Privately-owned shopping centre operator Ellandi has revealed plans for a multi-million pound programme of investment, set to transform Merry Hill shopping centre near Birmingham by July 2025.
Delivered over five years and beginning with a first stage relaunch in September 2021, the £50 million investment will see Merry Hill undergo a major transformation, including a new placemaking masterplan for the 2 million sq ft+ centre and surrounding waterfront and leisure destination.
The goal of the investment is to build on the retail offering at the centre, which currently includes Next, JD Sport and Primark. A further 22 units are in negotiation or under offer, totalling over 230,000 sq ft.
Plans include the development of a new family entertainment ‘Leisure District’, allowing visitors of all ages to enjoy a range of non-retail activities, attractions and restaurants.
Ellandi also confirmed that the transformation of Merry Hill “will include works to ‘future-proof’ the shopping centre and enhance its sustainability credentials, with an ambitious net-zero goal set for 2030 which will be achieved through, for example, the installation of solar panels and more than 200 electric vehicle charging points”.
Mark Robinson, Co-founder of Ellandi, said in a statement: “Despite the pandemic, Merry Hill has seen footfall outperforming city-centre locations and other super-regional shopping centres, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Our plans will ensure that by 2025 Merry Hill will be the West Midland’s most vibrant family lifestyle destination, embedded at the heart of the local community.
“In addition to being able to access a range of both big-name brands and smaller independent business, customers today demand significantly more from shopping centres than they did in years past.
“This investment will not only enhance and complement Merry Hill’s existing retail offering, but also the range of leisure-led, non-retail and food and beverage attractions – delivering a high-quality environment in which shoppers can also spend their days socialising, relaxing and having fun.
“As the lifting of government restrictions affecting non-essential retail and hospitality has revealed, there remains enormous pent-up demand for high-quality, bricks and mortar retail, as evidenced by the 22 deals already completed and the phenomenal interest from new occupiers. However, retail destinations must continue to evolve and keep pace with the rapidly shifting demands of consumers, delivering beautiful, high-quality and diverse locations that offer experiences beyond shopping alone.
“This positive performance and the positive engagement with key stakeholders such as Dudley Metropolitan Council, has given us the confidence to move forward with our plans, building on other investment such as the arrival of the Metro in 2023.”
The company also announced the appointment of Jonathan Poole as Merry Hill’s new centre manager. Poole was the former centre manager at The Liberty centre in Romford, before joining Merry Hill in Spring 2021.