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38 PROJECT REPORT: RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS


FIRST FLOOR PLAN


The bowling and cinema begin at the first floor level of the two new volumes within the design, which flank a new entrance from the high street


retain and reconfigure key elements of Charter Place, namely the multi-storey car park which was to remain operational throughout the works. This concrete framed building underwent significant structural alterations to accommodate a number of retail units including a Debenhams department store over three floors. In addition to the car park, a grade 2 listed building fronting the High Street was retained and refurbished, creating an ideal new venue for a Côte restaurant. Project architect at Leslie Jones Cos Constantinou explained to ADF that this project exemplified intu’s brand values: “We were working on this scheme just as intu’s brand was in its infancy, developing a new destination which looked at the brand and tried to build on it.”


He adds that the key drivers for the client were to bring “joy, fun and excitement.” Constantinou continues: “That gave us a really good brief to work with, it allowed us to bring some little bits of excitement in wherever possible.”


He says that while retail development trends are seeing “a lot of repurposing of


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existing buildings, projects are tending to add in a range of elements beyond retail. “People want to have an experience when they go out, they don’t just want to shop, they want to grab something to eat, watch a film; it’s more of a day out, so bringing in restaurants and leisure facilities is really important.” As well as 11 restaurants and retailers such as Hugo Boss, Hollister and Uniqlo, the new extended intu Watford includes a nine screen Cineworld cinema – complete with an Imax screen – and a Hollywood Bowl 10-pin bowling facility. Hi-tech mini-golf concept Puttshack will also open there next year.


The scheme comprises the extended intu centre – arranged along the high street, a triangular central public events space with a dynamic curving glass roof, and beyond it the remainder of what had been Charter Place, namely the car park building with two levels of retail below. This has been fully refurbished, including the Debenhams store which takes up a large part of the basement, ground and first floor. “It’s so important that schemes relate to their community,” says Constantinou.


ADF NOVEMBER 2019


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