25 years of the Buttermarket in Ipswich town centre

Newly opened Buttermarket, Ipswich, 1992

Newly opened Buttermarket, Ipswich, 1992 - Credit: Archant

The Buttermarket Shopping Centre first opened on October 1, 1992 - a modern, glass fronted shopping centre with a green-theme.

The Buttermarket entrance rotunda viewed from the top of one of the tower cranes in December 1991. P

The Buttermarket entrance rotunda viewed from the top of one of the tower cranes in December 1991. Picture: Jerry Turner/Archant - Credit: Archant/Turner

Anchor tenants at the time were Owen Owen department store, which operated over two floors, and C&A.

There was the Promenade Food Court which offered diners a choice of Burger King, pizza, baked potatoes or patisserie treats. The food court area seated 350. Over the past two years the centre has changed dramatically. The glass frontage was removed last summer and replaced with an open courtyard area with several big chain restaurants taking up residency.

The upper floors of the four-storey centre have been converted to create a 12-screen cinema complex, due to open this spring.

Here we look back at the centre’s history.

October 1, 1992 – Buttermarket first opens, comprising of 270,000 square feet, four floor levels of shops and costing a total of £64m to build.

June 15, 2000 – C&A closes its store as the company enters administration.

Ipswich Buttermarket in October 1993

Ipswich Buttermarket in October 1993 - Credit: Archant/OHines

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February 7, 2005 – Allders department store, which had taken over Owen Owen, announces closure, risking 250 jobs at their store within the Buttermarket.

March 26, 2005 – Allders, closes after 10 years in the Buttermarket as administrators are unable to find a buyer for it.

August 2008 – Promenade food court on the second floor closes.

October 2008 - the Balcony Foodcourt opened with tenants Wimpy, El Taco Loco, Just Spuds and Bean 2 Cup.

September 26, 2012 – Vue Cinemas, is granted permission by Ipswich Borough Council to convert the two storey shopping centre into a cinema.

February 9, 2015 - Vue Cinemas withdraws cinema plans.

March 4, 2015 – Capital and Regional purchase the centre for £9.2m.

Cosy Club at Buttermarket Centre Ipswich. Picture: Antony Potts

Cosy Club at Buttermarket Centre Ipswich. Picture: Antony Potts - Credit: Archant

March 19, 2015 – Starbucks closes its branch in the Buttermarket.

April 17, 2015 – Capital and Regional announce plans to add a 16 screen cinema and six restaurants.

June 3, 2015 – Capital and Regional’s plans for a 16 screen cinema is approved.

November 5, 2015 – New Look store relocates within the Buttermarket to accommodate new plans.

June 6, 2016 - Empire Cinema, Coast to Coast, Cosy Club and Prezzo, begin their refits in the centre as part of the venue’s £35m revamp.

July 9, 2016 – The glass front of the Buttermarket is removed as renovation begins.

August 3, 2016 – BHS store opposite the Buttermarket closes.

August 26, 2016 - TK Maxx, is moved to a new unit in the Buttermarket to accommodate the cinema.

September 2016 – Prezzo is the first of the new restaurants to open in the centre, with Cosy Club and Coast To Coast opening shortly after.

September, 22 2016 – Pure Gym launches.

October 10, 2016 – Wagamamas and Byron Burger open.

November 23, 2016 - More than 200 people sign a petition calling for public seating to be reinstalled inside the Buttermarket Centre.

January 2017 - Boots is the only original store remaining at the centre

February 7, 2017 – Krispy Kreme open in the Buttermarket, creating nine jobs.

February, 20 2017 – Buttermarket is sold for £54.7m giving current owners, Capital & Regional along with its partner Drum Property Group, a profit of just over £20 million in just two years.

March 31, 2017 – Empire Cinemas expected to open, the 12-screen complex will create 45 new jobs.

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