Credit: AEW
Credit: AEW

FESTIVAL PLACE, UNDER AEW EUROPE, TURNS 20 THIS OCTOBER

UK top 25 shopping center, Festival Place, celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. Under the ownership of AEW Europe, the 102,000 sq m scheme has established itself as the leading retail destination in Hampshire.

Since first opening its doors on October the 22nd, 2002, Festival Place has welcomed over 22 million visitors per year. While some occupiers remain from the original line-up, the center has adapted and evolved to accommodate new retail and leisure operators and formats in line with changing consumer habits.

A strategic leasing program over the past 18 months has seen a renewed emphasis on food and beverage, welcoming brands including Brewdog, Five Guys, and Tapas Revolution alongside local independents. This has been complemented by continued retail leasing activity which has resulted in recent deals with Ted Baker, H&M, and Skechers. In total, 25 new leases/lease renewals have been agreed upon since the beginning of 2021, while footfall has now returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Recent community efforts include the provision of vital services such as a 567 sq m community NHS Health Hub in a prime location within the center, and the offering of free space to the Community Food Link, a Basingstoke charity that collects fresh food and delivers it to those in need, to operate a new delivery Hub. A new community art wall created by children attending local schools alongside local artists has recently been unveiled and now sits on the outside wall of Festival Place’s Church Street entrance.
Neil Churchill, center director at Festival Place, said: “Against a backdrop of a changing retail landscape, Festival Place has proved its resilience and relevance over the past two decades. As a true town-center scheme, we have a responsibility to our local community that goes far and beyond offering a varied line-up of occupiers.

“Alongside a carefully curated mix of national operators, we are also keen to showcase local brands and produce as well as offering a mix of community services and delivering an extensive calendar of events. It is a scheme I’m incredibly proud to be associated with and I look forward to seeing its continued evolution over the next 20 years”.

Originally developed by Grosvenor, Festival Place was acquired by AEW in 2015 and is the highest-ranked shopping center outside a major UK city. It is listed in the top 25 of the latest Global Data’s UK shopping centers report and sits within Trevor Wood Associates’ Premier League of shopping centers. The 102,000 sq m retail and leisure destination features retail, dining, and leisure brands such as Apple, H&M, M&S, Next, Waterstones, and Five Guys alongside amenities including a Sports Center with a swimming pool and a gym, a 10-screen Vue Cinema, a Flip Out trampoline park, Escape and indoor entertainment experience plus office space and a library.

Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the center.

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