The Green Quadrant of the Metro Centre
|Location||Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England|
|Opening date||14 October 1986|
|Developer||Cameron Hall Developments|
GIC Real Estate
|No. of stores and services||270|
|No. of anchor tenants|
|Total retail floor area||2,076,000 sq ft (192,900 m2)|
|No. of floors||2|
|Parking||almost 15,000 spaces|
|Public transit access|
Metrocentre opened in stages, with the first phase opening on 28 April 1986, and the official opening being held on 14 October 1986. It has more than 270 shops occupying over 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m2) of retail floor space, making it the second-largest shopping centre in the UK, behind Westfield London. Additional retail space can be found in the adjoining Metro Retail Park and MetrOasis.
Metrocentre's construction was financed by the Church Commissioners of England, and was masterminded by Sir John Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments. The ground upon which it is built was purchased for £100,000 in the early 1970s. Access to the development was facilitated by an urban development grant from the Department of the Environment, and the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead.
The first phase of the development, the Red Mall, was opened in April 1986. At the time, it featured a large Carrefour supermarket, which later became a Gateway, and subsequently Asda. Metrocentre also featured the first out of town branch of Marks & Spencer.
In October 1995, the centre was sold to Capital Shopping Centres (now intu Properties) for £364 million, although the Church Commissioners retained a 10% stake.
Reflecting its Church of England origins, Metrocentre is one of the few European shopping centres to have a full-time resident chaplain. Services are held on special occasions such as Mothering Sunday, Remembrance Sunday, and at Christmas.
The Metrocentre has five main malls, these being: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow and Platinum.
In 1997, Asda moved from Metrocentre to a larger stand-alone store nearby, facilitating the redevelopment of the Red Mall.
Malls and Transport Interchange
When Asda moved out of the main centre, the former store was demolished to make way for an extension and refurbishment of the Red Mall. The redeveloped Red Mall, anchored by a Debenhams department store, opened in October 2004.
The programme also included the construction of a new Transport Interchange, sited at the edge of the Blue Mall, replacing the former bus station.
In November 2006, centre owner Capital Shopping Centres announced plans to redevelop the centre's Yellow Mall. The Metroland indoor funfair closed in April 2008, and the area, along with the neighbouring Clockworks Food Court, has since been refurbished to become Metrocentre Qube.
As well as this, Qube also houses an Odeon cinema (which relocated from the Blue Mall in December 2009). It includes twelve screens, including multiple 3D screens, and an IMAX Digital – the first in the north-east of England.
The Namco Funscape is located on the lower floor, and is a family entertainment centre including a ten-pin bowling alley, dodgems and soft play. The Qube's exterior is clad with zinc and glass, to distinguish it as the entertainment part of the centre.
The former central area of the mall, which was known as the Central Mall, has been refurbished and renamed the Platinum Mall. This area focuses on higher-end stores and furnishings, including improved lighting and decor.
The development hopes to copy designer outlets much similar 'The Village' mall at Westfield London. In August 2012, the first of the new retailers, 360 Champagne & Cocktails (now closed), opened its doors. It soon was followed by retailers Mamas & Papas and H&M Kids. Tessuti opened in December 2012, followed by designer footwear retailer, Daniel.
Many large retail chains are represented in the centre. It is anchored by three large department stores:
In September 2010, the region's second Apple Store was opened at Metrocentre.
Both are located in the Qube Mall, on the site of the former Metroland theme park.
Until its closure in April 2008, Metrocentre featured an entirely enclosed theme park called Metroland. Renamed The New Metroland following a refurbishment by operators Arlington Leisure in 1996, it was Europe's largest indoor amusement park. Metroland opened in February 1988 at the cost of £20 million. The park featured a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, pirate ship, waltzers, a miniature railway and dodgem cars among its rides.
On the final weekend of operation (19-20 April 2008), the park held the 'Last Ride Weekend', where the admission price was £5 for the whole day, with unlimited access to all the rides. The park finally closed at 8:00 pm on 20 April 2008, despite strong local opposition, and petitions raising around 4,000 signatures against the closure. Proceeds from the last night of operation went to charity.
The Metroland roller coaster was later relocated to The Big Sheep, a farm-themed amusement park in Abbotsham, northern Devon. The ride entered operation in March 2016. The park offered a free ride to visitors from the north-east of England for a period after the ride's opening.
Metro Retail Park
Metro Retail Park is situated to the west of Metrocentre. It has the layout of a conventional out-of-town retail park, with large stores such as Barker and Stonehouse, Oak Furniture Land and Furniture Village.
McDonald's and Pizza Hut are both situated to the south of the retail park site (in addition to other sites within Metrocentre). Until August 2007, when it was purchased for £82.5 million, the retail park was not under the ownership of Capital Shopping Centres (now intu). Further west of the retail park, there is a 24-hour Asda supermarket, an IKEA, The Range and Sports Direct (the former site of Danish furniture store, ILVA). To the south is the Marriott Hotel.
The metrOasis retail area, on the perimeter of the shopping centre, opened to the public in September 2012. It is located between Qube and the Metro Retail Park, on the former site of a petrol station. The development is home to a range of dining and entertainment venues, with construction beginning in January 2012. The project opened to the public in September 2012. The retail area includes drive-thru Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Starbucks, as well as a Toby Carvery.
- "Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead". Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
Liberty International announces a strategic partnership with GIC Real Estate for Metrocentre, Gateshead
- "intu Annual Report 2018" (PDF). 2018. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- Soult, Graham (11 July 2013). "Gateshead's Metrocentre prepares for overnight Intu-fication". Soult's Retail Report. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- "MetroCentre Railway Station". abcrailwayguide.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
- "Public Consultation for Yellow and Blue Mall Proposals" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
- "State-of-the-art IMAX cinema for MetroCentre Odeon". Chronicle Live. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Ford, Coreena. "BHS store in Metrocentre is snapped up by Next, creating new jobs". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- Duke, Simon (6 March 2018). "Next opens huge new flagship store at the Metrocentre". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Hodgson, Barbara. "Metroland ride gets rolling again - and North East fans can enjoy a free ride in DEVON". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Devon's Biggest Coaster at The Big Sheep". ThemeParks-UK. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- Purchase of Metro Retail Park, Metrocentre, 23 August 2007[dead link]
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