2014 will be the biggest year yet for Gloucester’s regeneration, the city’s leaders have said.
Several new restaurants and major retailers will open at Gloucester Quays before Easter, the Eastgate Market will relocate to a new home, TK Maxx will move into the city, the ugly Golden Egg building will be no more, the Fleece Hotel site will go up for sale and bids will be made for a new bus station.
The former Marks and Spencer site, in Northgate Street, has for the first time gone on the market to be leased out. The three-storey building is being marketed at £300,000-per-year on a 10-year lease.
Clem Constantine, director of property for Marks and Spencer, said: “I would accept that the store we exited does not currently help the appeal of that part of town and we are frustrated that a tenant has yet to be secured. Part of this relates to the deal we had with TX Maxx, which has now unfortunately collapsed, and as a result we have had to start our search again.
“Our agents are actively marketing the site and there have been some expressions of interest but at present we are unable to confirm a new agreement.”
City council leader Paul James said: “It will be great to see some of the bigger units in the city filled in 2014 such as this site.
“I also want to find a satisfactory home for the indoor market that is acceptable for the traders but also allows TK Maxx to come in.
“We will also find out about our bids to bring forward the new bus station plans and in January the Golden Egg will finally come down.
“It is going to be a very important year.”
Among the openings at the Quays will be the popular eatery Coal Grill and Bar, set to open in the Pillar and Lucy Warehouse, opposite the new Cineworld cinema.
Jason Pullen, managing director of Peel Outlet, which runs Gloucester Quays, said: “In 2013 we have seen the opening of some 20 new businesses at the Quays alone. It has been an incredible year for us.
“As more and more retailers and restaurants join us, the excitement around what the Quays can offer builds.
“But now our attentions are turning to 2014 and it promises to be an even more exciting year. We can expect new openings in the early part of the year and we can’t wait to share the good news about them.
“There will be even more reasons for people to come and experience the Quays.”
The Eastgate shopping centre’s manager Jason Robinson is cautiously optimistic.
He said: “The start of the year is always difficult for retailers, so it is always tricky to predict how individual stores will be affected.
“At the moment we have some limited information on new openings.”
TK Maxx is among the line-up with hopes that it will be open before Christmas 2014.