The BID Office has this afternoon received a letter from Clare Collard, Head of Stakeholder and Public Affairs, The Crown Estate to Exeter BID levy payers regarding the proposed extension to Princesshay Shopping Centre.
Re: Proposed extension to the Princesshay Shopping Centre
Given your close interest in the proposed extension to Princesshay Shopping Centre, I wanted to personally write to you to advise that The Crown Estate and TH Real Estate today announce that we are regrettably no longer able to progress the proposed extension due to current market conditions.
We have worked incredibly hard to try to make this scheme a success, but delivering a successful scheme for Exeter was always dependent on being able to secure the right mix of restaurants and retailers for the development. Unfortunately, in the current market many retailers and restaurateurs are now more cautious about making new commitments, particularly in proposed developments, which take time to build and therefore require a commitment several years ahead.
We recognise that this is disappointing news for Exeter, as well as for our own team, who together with Exeter City Council have dedicated significant time and resource over the last two years to bring this project forward. Ultimately, we know it would not be right or viable to press ahead with a development which is not set up for success.
I am keen to reassure you that this decision will in no way impact our long-standing commitment to Exeter and to Princesshay Shopping Centre, which remains a fantastic shopping destination in its own right. We are now looking closely at what more we can do at Princesshay to further enhance the experience for shoppers, and will continue to work closely with Exeter City Council and others in the area to help achieve this. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Statement from Exeter City Council leader Pete Edwards
“The Crown Estate/TH Real Estate have informed us they are no longer able to proceed with their plans for the redevelopment of the city centre site. They cited market conditions when we visited them in person on Friday.
“In addition, negotiations over the tender for our scheme has proved difficult – with a risk that costs could escalate further. This is unacceptable to us. Therefore I intend to ask the council to retender with a view to addressing design implications imposed by The Crown Estate/TH Real Estate’s withdrawal.
“This is likely to have an impact on the timeline by around a year – potentially opening now in 2020.
“Our resolve and ambition, to create a strong city centre, remains.
“I am calling a special council meeting to discuss the way forward with colleagues to reaffirm our commitment to a new bus station and leisure centre where we intended it to be. Now more than ever, I am determined the bus station and new flagship leisure facilities will take place. The bus station will close as expected.
“We however need to take a short pause to reflect on these events – and also to work through potential options to bring the whole site to completion.
“I would like to thank you for all your support so far and anticipated support in the coming months as we continue to do everything in our gift to deliver a project the city deserves.”