Video: Dukki Gifts director Heidi Hargreaves explains why they moved out
More than half of the shop units in Nottingham’s Broadmarsh shopping centre currently stand empty.
Broadmarsh is home to 81 shop sites and Notts TV has found 44 are currently empty – or 54 per cent.
It comes as the centre awaits the start of work on a £100 million redevelopment by owners intu.
The company has insisted it is “business as usual” in the meantime, and says preparatory work is already underway.
Independent shop Dukki Gifts were previously located in the shopping centre but director Heidi Hargreaves explained it moved home to St James’s Street because it did not make ‘financial sense’ to stay there.
Ms Hargreaves said: “It just wasn’t viable for us to stay in a shopping centre as we didn’t know at the time what they were going to be doing with it.
“There were lots of other shops closing around us and I didn’t think it was geared up for an independent shopping centre.
“It felt like we were filling the gaps before the big boys came in.
“They obviously want lots of chain stores in there because intu is a national company of shopping centres and they want them all to be similar.
“Independent businesses don’t fit into that model I don’t think.”
Video: What Notts shoppers make of the Broadmarsh shopping centre as it is
The Broadmarsh shopping centre is due to be renovated as part of a change to the ‘southern gateway’ to the city including, the rebuild of the adjacent car park and bus station.
Nottingham City Council, which owns the car park, started to demolish it earlier this month, with the building expected to be completely knocked down by the end of the year.
However, the redeveloped shopping centre will open at least two years later than first planned, as revealed in an intu update released earlier this year.
A planning summary, a document submitted to Nottingham City Council along with the planning application, said construction should start in 2016 and the ‘reimagined’ centre would fully open in 2018.
However the company’s report for the first half of 2017 indicated no money would be committed to the project until 2018, with the £89million spending on the build stretching into 2020.
General manager for intu in Nottingham, Nigel Wheatley, said: “The transformation of intu Broadmarsh is progressing; preparatory works are well underway and we are excited about what is to come.
“The Light cinema has already signed up as anchor tenant and there is significant interest from retailers and restaurants in taking space at the centre.
“In readiness for work on the redevelopment beginning, parts of the upper mall have been closed off with a number of existing stores relocated to the lower mall, while some short term leases have also concluded.
“We are working very closely with all our retailers to communicate each phase of the development and it is very much ‘business as usual’ at the centre.”