December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 17, 2013
A shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds is set to be completely full of retailers for the first time since its completion, marking a huge vote of confidence in the town.
Arc shopping centre manager Colin Roberts said he was “very hopeful” the centre, which opened in March 2009, would soon be fully occupied by shops and eateries.
A Joules clothes shop is opening there on October 24 and a 104-seater Burger King restaurant two days later, with Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama and national retailer Calendar Club earmarked for the remaining two units.
Elsewhere in the town centre a number of stores and eateries have just opened or are set to open in the run up to Christmas.
Mr Roberts said: “It will have taken about four-and-a-half years to be fully let here and when you compare that to other centres sometimes it takes 15/20 years for that to happen. Everyone is really delighted with it.”
The Burger King outlet will showcase the chain’s new restaurant design - 20/20 Light- which includes state-of-the-art lighting and digital menu boards.
Wagamama is due to open at the former Jack Jones and Vero Moda unit while Calendar Club is earmarked for the one opposite Carluccio’s restaurant.
Also, Costa is expanding into the unit next door to its current cafe and icandy gift shop has recently opened at the former Jane Norman store.
Colin Knight, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce, said: “Bury at the moment is as near to booming I think we can probably see in the current economic climate generally. It’s great businesses are almost clamouring at the door to come to Bury.”
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, the town’s BID (Business Improvement District) organisation, said at the end of September the vacancy rate in the town centre was about 10% with 50 empty units, including offices and shops, but he anticipated it would be “considerably” less than this by the end of the year.
“If all this goes ahead [with the new businesses], which I’m sure it will, it’s going to be the highest level of occupancy in the town since I have been here, which is great news.”
Mr Cordell, who has been with the BID for two-and-a-half years, said there were a number of reasons why Bury was thriving, but believed the BID’s work to promote the area and the ‘town team’ were contributing.
“We are all pulling in the same direction. It just shows what can be achieved,” he added.
Recent additions in the town also include Cafe del Mar in St John’s Street, Voujon Indian restaurant in Mustow Street and Nino’s kidswear store in Abbeygate Street.