An ambitious £30m plan for the redevelopment of The Junction in Antrim is on schedule for completion in 2021, it has been confirmed.
The Antrim-based shopping and leisure destination was bought by Lotus Property in 2016.
Since 2018, several new retailers have already set up shop on site including Beauty Outlet, Intersport and The Entertainer.
The food and beverage offering has continued to be “greatly enhanced” since Lotus Property took over the scheme, with the opening of a Starbucks Drive-Thru expected later next month, followed by the arrival of two global restaurant chains Nando’s and TGI Fridays in early 2020.
Alastair Coulson, managing director, of Lotus Property, said: “Our vision is to make The Junction the largest shopping and leisure destination in Northern Ireland and achieving this milestone means we’re one step closer to having this vision realised.
“We’re on track with plans to complete the whole scheme by 2021 and the arrival of global hero brands like Nando’s and TGI Fridays is a testament to how far we’ve come on this journey.
“We are confident that the redesign of the scheme will continue to attract new tenants from retail, leisure and food and beverage sectors and offer new and existing customers reasons to return time and time again.
“Out of town retail and leisure destinations are enjoying a renaissance and we are committed to delivering on what families in the local area and from further afield want – choice, variety and value for money.”
Phase one completion of the masterplan also coincides with the recent appointment of a new centre director for the scheme, Chris Flynn.
With more than 18 years’ experience working in the retail industry, including three years as the general manager of Debenhams in CastleCourt, Chris will play an instrumental role in overseeing the next phase of redevelopment at The Junction.
Chris commented: “Change is in the air at The Junction and this is only the beginning of its transformation. With new retail and leisure tenants in the pipeline, this is an exciting time to be joining the team.
“The retail environment has been challenging over the last number of years and what consumers want has changed.
“The Junction is evolving to meet those demands and we believe our offering can be among the best on the island of Ireland – perfectly situated to attract locals from the Antrim, Mid Ulster and greater Belfast area as well as a perfect pit stop for those coming from further afield on their way to or back from our world famous north coast.”
The Junction currently houses more than 30 stores, a range of food and beverage venues and a 10-screen Omniplex cinema.
On completion of the masterplan, the scheme will comprise of four distinct quarters; food and film, home retail, supermarket and shopping, and leisure.
Following the purchase, the masterplan was created in a bid to realise Lotus’ ambition of transforming The Junction into the largest shopping and leisure destination in Northern Ireland.
Significant new road infrastructure, with a tree-lined entrance to improve access in and out of the scheme, and the creation of a public square with all-weather urban furniture are designed to improve customer navigation through the site’s shopping quarter.
Meanwhile, further plans for a £30m redevelopment of buildings on Linenhall Street, Clarence Street and Bedford Street in Belfast city centre have been announced by Surrey-based development company Domus UK Ltd.
The proposals, set to be submitted to Belfast City Council in early 2020, expand on plans for a £10million redevelopment of buildings on Linenhall Street and Clarence Street, which has already undertaken pre-application community consultation earlier this month; and it is expected that a planning application for the smaller scheme will be submitted by the end of the year. The plans will provide an opportunity to increase the provision of new Grade A office space.