New food court tenant at centre

IPSWICH: A shopping centre is celebrating a major coup with the imminent arrival of a tenant for its restaurant area.

The food court at Ipswich’s Buttermarket has stood empty for two years following the departure of Burger King, along with Potato Bakehouse, Coffee Express and a patisserie – but is set to welcome a new operator and undergo a �500,000 facelift.

The centre has been on the hunt for a new tenant ever since and is looking forward to the opening of a new burger bar with a sub-tenant which has yet to be announced, Just Spuds, a Mexican food operation called El Taco, and Bean 2 Cup, a cafe and cake bar which will also offer traditional English hot foods.

Management hopes that by Christmas, it may be able to reach its target of 100 per cent occupancy – currently two shop units and two kiosks remain to be filled.

“We are talking about the best part of a half-a-million pound refit so some serious investment, both from the landlord and the new tenant,” said centre manager Colin Roberts. “It’s absolutely fantastic news – we are absolutely delighted.”

He believes the new food hall, to be run by national chain BCL Foods Ltd, will make “a huge difference”, both to the centre and the town.

“It’s positive for Ipswich because in a lot of shopping centres now they just don’t have food courts. They have chosen Ipswich because of its potential. It’s a positive statement not just for the Buttermarket but for the town.”

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It is hoped that the court will be ready by late October or early November, he said, and that its arrival will more than make up for the loss of the Sony franchise shop.

Lamen Reddy, operations director at BCL Foods, a quick service restaurant company, said he expected a “considerable return” on the 280 to 300-seater food court even if it only reached 60 per cent plus of the sales Burger King achieved.

He expected to be in a position to announce the burger bar operator, which will be a sub-tenant, within a week or so, but the company would be running the other food operations itself.

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