Ipswich: Tower Ramparts shopping centre set for multi-million pound revamp after Poundland and Iceland boost

Property giants LaSalle bought the centre two years ago and are talking to officials at the borough about a major internal redesign of the building to attract new tenants. Property giants LaSalle bought the centre two years ago and are talking to officials at the borough about a major internal redesign of the building to attract new tenants.

Monday, May 12, 2014
3:15 PM

The owners of Tower Ramparts in Ipswich are drawing up plans for a multi-million pound revamp of the shopping centre after the arrival of Poundland and Iceland over the last month.

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Property giants LaSalle bought the centre two years ago and are talking to officials at the borough about a major internal redesign of the building to attract new tenants and put it at the centre of the town’s retail heart.

No one from the owners was able to comment on the proposals, but we have learned that the plans are well advanced following major developments over the last year.

The former Littlewoods store, which had been largely empty since the start of 2006, has now been converted into two major new stores.

And at the other end of the centre the new River Island store which opened just before Christmas has been a huge success.

These developments have prompted the centre owners to look at updating the rest of Tower Ramparts and detailed plans are now being discussed with borough officials.

They would need planning permission from the borough council – but this is not thought likely to be a major hurdle.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere was aware of the proposals to update the centre, but had not seen the details.

He said: “It is good news that the owners (of Tower Ramparts) have confidence in the town – and especially the town centre.”

Centre manager Mike Sorhaindo said he was unable to say anything about the future of Tower Ramparts. However signs have recently appeared around the centre saying: “Tower Ramparts is changing.”

Paul Clement from Ipswich Central said the recent developments had been very welcome for the whole town centre.

“Now that Poundland and Iceland have opened with long leases that end of the centre is now much busier and more attractive.

“And the new River Island store has been hugely-successful in attracting new shoppers since it opened at Christmas. The new owners do seem to be investing to put it back at the heart of the town’s retail core,” he said.

While Tower Ramparts is looking ahead to a brighter future, question marks remain over the town’s Buttermarket Centre after it emerged that the new owner of the former Odeon at Major’s Corner has links to another chain of cinemas.

Vue cinemas had planned to create a new nine-screen venue in the Buttermarket, and work had been due to start earlier this year.

However nothing has yet happened, amid speculation that managers at Vue are reviewing whether to go ahead with the proposed Ipswich development.

The cinema company has said it still wants to come to Ipswich, but no formal deal has yet been concluded – months after work had originally been due to start.

14 comments

  • Great news! There is no reason why the centre should not be one of the busiest parts of the town, but yet some of the units have been empty for as long as I have lived in Ipswich. As much as it is nice to see indie retailers surviving, they don't really belong in Tower Ramparts- nor do charity shops.

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    Sentinel Red

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • If you actually looked at all the comments you would realise that most of the people actually like Ipswich and have something constructive to say. The town centre is not the best for shopping and Tower Ramparts is very poor at the moment and needs at least a refurb. If you failed to be impressed with the shopping in Norwich you need to open your eyes and nobody mentioned the football team this article is about Tower Ramparts.

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    royg

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • I see we have the usual.. 'we are not happy about anything' brigade doing their Ipswich, and has for Norwich.. been 'once.. wasn't impressed'.. a bit like the 'football team', nothing impressive about them.

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    Neil Nield

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • The lovely old school building should have been revamped back in 1979 and turned into a shopping centre similar to the Royal Arcade in Norwich. I agree with @Lee Davies bulldoze it and start again the layout is very poor and I doubt if a refurb and Iceland and Poundland moving in will make any difference. I love Ipswich but i would much rather shop in Norwich look at Castle Mall and Chapelfield for examples of how to build a shopping centre.

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    royg

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • As far as I am aware (I could be wrong) whereas Boots is a freestanding shop, part of this is in Tower Ramparts (effectively two units knocked into one) and as such they pay rent and service charge on that part. You cannot compare a tiny insignificant shopping centre in Ipswich with something like the N1 Angel, in Islington, London! I agree that it works to great success... but its the location rather than the actual set up which is the catalyst to success. If you sell a car all timewasters and tire kickers, are "interested"... except they are not willing to complete a transaction... so actually in fact, they are not remotely interested just pretending to be! Vue has numerous of these "opportunities" nationwide, not just the Buttermarket... ***** Vue aren't going to push ahead having a cinema in a shopping centre that doesn't pull in people beyond the ground floor pedestrian thoroughfare... they want all the proposed restaurants to legally commit themselves before they do. The restaurants are only interested IF the Vue cinema is going there, so its a stalemate. The food court has been empty for ages and Buttermarket cannot get another tenant to replace due to fear of losing out to new competitors, if the cinema did go ahead... (its close to a million per year to rent that area!) No restaurants have formally signed up. Vue will withdraw. ***** LaSalle's objective was to turn a dying shopping centre into a fully occupied healthy shopping centre full of big brands... to do this they need to invest money. To many people hearing the words "multi-million" seems like they are going to line the place of gold, in fact its just how expensive things are in the modern day world... when you factor in the cost of rent and service charges in shopping centres, it makes sense to modernise and improve the experience for both shoppers and tenants to increase your profits. ***** The Buttermarket Shopping Centre are trying to do similar with this new proposed cinema.. transforming away from shopping to more leisure based activities which is basically admitting defeat against rivals with Tower Ramparts! Surprise, surprise... TR is getting new tenants as its now the main de-facto shopping centre in the town, the Buttermarket Shopping Centre is sitting pretty on their mixed leisure usage dreams... whilst as soon as Vue withdraws, the shopping centre is practically dead.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Ipswich Entrepreneur too long with your dribble. Bull doze it flat and return the site to its former glory, that old building was beautiful and steeped in history. Iceland, let's not shout that one out.

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    Lee Davies

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • @Dale you would think they've asked the IBC planners no? As they say they are in discussion. Also a new application has just been submitted by La Salle to revamp the remaining store on Tavern Street next to River Island for a new tenant moving in so along with the other re-developments that have taken place it seems quite likely to be true...

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    Scott Brock

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • @Ipswich Ent - Boots isn't actually part of Tower Ramparts, they don't own it. It just has entrances into it. Also, regarding the Vue in the Buttermarket - what rubbish! Cinema's in shopping centre's have proved a huge success for revamping them, the N1 in angel is a good example. All the restaurant units as part of the proposed redevelopment have interested tenants, and the delay has really been caused by the fact Vue got bought out and the new owners are reviewing all proposed schemes. As for La Salle not being interested in TR re-development, well they've done the re-fit for poundland, iceland and river island AND they've just submitted an application to re-fit the store next to River Island on Tavern Street for a new signed up tenant (but they haven't revealed who it is yet). It seems they are committed to doing quite a bit of work.

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    Scott Brock

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I wouldn't be surprised if Tower Ramparts didn't end up the same way as Eastgates. LaSalle doesn't see TR as a major strategic centre but as a way of growing its portfolio... the reason why they want BIG names (such as Poundland and Iceland) regardless of lack of prestigious upmarket brands, is they are relatively secure locked in and are therefore "anchor" tenants... having tenants (especially those that bring a high volume of low-value spenders as opposed to "window shoppers") quite obviously increases the value of a shopping centre when selling it. ***** The cinema in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre is never going to happen its a technique in the property market to get the restaurants etc. to commit in the centre's transformation project... then the cinema chain would CONSIDER with the increased footfall. To date there is no one interested in the project. The biggest unit remains empty. ***** The problem with Tower Ramparts - other than its quite close to the centre of town and is a pedestrian thoroughfare towards the bus station - is its an UGLY mismatch design which replaced what was quite a nice building (the former TR school) and its very SMALL coupled with the fact NO ONE is interested in spending significant money at these places any more... you get your essentials, then you go on trips to proper purpose built shopping centres with the brands and the infrastructure, far outside Ipswich... (its also a day out!) or you go to retail parks on the outskirts of the town centre. This is why shops like Poundland do well, most customers lack an education (sorry I mean common sense) to realise that most products can be purchased cheaper elsewhere such as Wilkos etc AND people go in there to impulse buy.... which is ideal for such a location where thousands walk through to use public transport... all I will add is their location could have been better. ***** My last word on the matter is long-term tenants such as Boots (who have their own entrance outside the shopping centre too) seem to be overlooked by most recent developments. River Island doesn't care about being part of the shopping centre, they just wanted a shop front on the central Tavern Street road closer to the cornhill. Furthermore, all these 3 tenants are relocations rather than "NEW" brands to the town... this is what Ipswich Central refuses to acknowledge and accept.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I think the thing here that is quite remarkable is how the paper has made a front page story without any facts whatsoever. A mishmash of old stories and observations made by looking at the place along with token quote from media darlings Ipswich Central. If only David Beckham had gone in the new iceland then they could have dined for a week from that story.

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    dale craven

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Low standards , thats Ipswich . The Town Centre is really poor , like many other town centres though ! The Town Centre is only attractive to those without their own transport , hence the type of shops we see appearing and the revamp of the bus stations . Generally those type of people do not spend much and want cheap and cheerful

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    Poppys Dad

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • We really do set our standards high!

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    mike blunt

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I think the main positive about this is the fact that Tower Ramparts doesn't resemble a disused warehouse anymore, however, I wouldn't get too carried away with the fact that Poundland and Iceland have moved in, therefore attracting others, can't really see House of Fraser seeing it as a great opportunity. Fact is the place has been pretty much empty for 8-9 years, so other shops could have easily moved in at a far reduced rate, why didn't they? and will Poundland now entice them? Can't see it..

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    Tedbundy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • I am all for a major revamp 'to attract new tenants' but would question the comment that Poundland and Iceland have 'made the centre more attractive'. What scale is this measured against? If you measure it against empty derelict units, yes it is more attractive but compared with the window displays of say John Lewis or Next or other major retailers you have to ask can the word attractive really be used in this context. Beauty is in the eye if the beholder and if Paul Clement really thinks that what we have is attractive, his idea of an attractive and enticing shopping area falls way below what can ever be considered as acceptable for a good retail experience. Also, the River Island move has been ' a huge success', measured how?

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    how'd the town do

    Monday, May 12, 2014

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