Legal and General and Citygrove have agreed terms with Rushmoor Borough Council for the £51 million WestGate development that aims to revitalise the military town of Aldershot.
The WestGate development will transform a 9 acre site, which currently houses the Aldershot Police Station and Magistrates Court, car park, doctors surgery and the Princes Hall into a new retail and leisure complex boasting a 7 screen cinema, restaurants, hotel and a Morrisons food store.
95% of the 170,000 sq ft development is pre-let and, on completion (targeted for late 2012) occupiers including Frankie & Benny’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo, Harvester, Subway, The Real China, Morrisons food store, Travelodge hotel and Cineworld will all be hoping that the new development will revitalise the town which has struggled for many years to compete with the retail and leisure offerings of other nearby towns including Fleet, Farnborough, Camberley, Farnham, Guildford etc.
Toby Baines, chairman of Citygrove said ‘we are confident that WestGate will give the town something it is not currently able to enjoy: day and night-time family entertainment which will hopefully encourage people to stay in the town rather than go to neighbouring towns for entertainment’.
So will WestGate be enough to bring life back to the town centre? It is clear that the high street is struggling with more and more retailers closing down. Whilst the Wellington Centre appears to be thriving, the adjoining Galleries is a ghost town with just 2 of 22 units let following a failed attempt by owners Threadneedle Property Investments to secure a major retailer back in 2006.
Though WestGate should undoubtedly provide a significant boost to the town, only time will tell whether the development has a positive impact on the high street and be the catalyst the town needs to lift its struggling retail and leisure offerings.