intu Watford extension reaches key milestone

The £180 million extension to intu Watford that is set to make the town one of the best places to shop in the UK will open in October.

Representatives from intu and contractor Laing O’Rourke gathered to mark the progress of the major shopping centre extension which will expand intu Watford’s retail and leisure offer by 400,000 sq ft and place Watford alongside Edinburgh and Bristol in CACI’s top 20 national retail destinations.

A ceremonial piece of concrete was laid on the roof of the extension at the topping out ceremony, an age-old tradition celebrated by builders to mark a development’s highest point being reached.

intu has signed up a 9 screen IMAX Cineworld cinema and 113,000 sq. ft. Debenhams to anchor the new extension. There will also be a Hollywood Bowl, 11 new restaurants and 13 more stores.

Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at intu, said: “We’re bringing together the best retail and leisure brands for intu Watford’s affluent customer base. Our plans will establish the centre both as a daytime and evening destination and drive what is already a busy and prosperous local economy, with 38 million visitors to Watford high street every year and 83 per cent of our customers drawn from the most affluent ABC1 socio-economic group.”

Liam Cummins, Laing O’Rourke’s head of UK building, said: “Having only started on-site in the middle of 2016, it’s great to see the progress made by the team in reaching this key milestone. We continue to develop our partnership with intu and are committed to innovative engineering in the retail sector. We look forward to the final phase of this transformational project in the coming months.”

So far more than 7,000 pieces of steel, equivalent to 326 double decker buses, have been used during the 129 week programme, which began in March 2016. And 13,500m cubic metres of concrete has been laid, equating to roughly the volume of five Olympic sized swimming pools.

At a total of 1.4 million sq ft, intu Watford will become one of the UK’s largest in-town shopping centres once the work is complete. The town is already one of the UK’s largest regional office headquarters, with a workplace population of 61,000, and a popular tourist destination for visitors of the nearby Warner Bros Studio Tour.

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