Next has opened its much-anticipated flagship store at Newtownabbey’s Abbey Centre ahead of Christmas, as part of the extensive development and refurbishment plans delivered by owners of the shopping centre NewRiver REIT.
The new store doubles the number of jobs and brings the total figure at Next in Abbey Centre to 60.
The retail investor has created 55,000 sq ft of new retail space at the Abbey Centre since acquiring the centre in August 2014 with Next opening their new 43,000 sq ft flagship last week.
Work is currently underway to extend the existing Dunnes Stores unit by 13,000 sq ft. During the works, Dunnes Stores have re-located to the former BHS unit.
The new Next Store is a modern purpose built store and offers shoppers its full range of ladies, men’s, children’s and homeware across two trading floors.
As part of the revitalisation plans for the centre, NewRiver and its retail agents Lambert Smith Hampton and McMullen Wilson are enhancing the retail and leisure offer with restaurant chain Nando’s taking a 3,500 sq ft unit. This is currently under construction and due to open spring next year. Deals have also been agreed on the former BHS and previous Next unit, with announcements expected early next year.
The Abbey Centre has been transformed over the last 18 months, with 10 new retailers opening in the centre. Combined, new retailers have taken up over 17,000 sq ft of retail space and created over 100 new jobs. Along with the new lettings, a number of existing retailers such as Holland & Barrett, Vogue and Argento have upsized into larger units within the centre.
A major refurbishment programme is also underway to improve parking, enhance the external façade of the centre and introduce a streamlined modern brand.
Emma Mackenzie, Director at NewRiver REIT, owners of the Abbey Centre said:
“We are delighted that Next has finally opened its doors marking a major milestone for the centre and securing its status as one of the area’s leading retail and leisure destinations. It’s an important show of confidence in UK and Northern Irish retail that retailers are continuing to expand and invest when provided with the right locations. At NewRiver we take a very pro-active approach to asset management and development working closely with our retailers and retail agents to create vibrant retail and leisure locations appropriate for local consumer needs.
“We are very much looking forward to Dunnes finishing their extension works in the new year as part of our development plans for the centre. With Nando’s coming in together with a host of new retailers, extended stores and a modernised public realm it really is an exciting time for the Abbey Centre.”
Criona Collins, Head of Retail at Lambert Smith Hampton added:
“Over the last 18 months, we have attracted a number national retailers who have enhanced the diverse retail offering in the Abbey Centre. Next’s flagship store is one of the largest in Northern Ireland and the Dunnes Stores extension is currently under construction, with completion planned for next summer. Both of these multi-million pound investments signal the confidence that both Next and Dunnes Stores have in the centre and highlights New River’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the overall retail environment.”
Lambert Smith Hampton and Joint Leasing McMullen Wilson acted on behalf of NewRiver REIT.
IMAGE 1: Pictured inside the new 43,000 sq ft Next store at Abbey Centre are; Jonathan Martin, Associate Director and Criona Collins, Head of Retail at Lambert Smith Hampton and Emma Mackenzie, Director at NewRiver REIT.