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Redevelopment of town centre shopping centre, while allowing retail operations to continue uninterrupted



HIGHLIGHTS

  • Constrained town centre location, with limited storage for plant or materials
  • Demolition and rebuilding of upper floors and the roof retailers traded as normal underneath
  • No retail trading time was lost in the entire project

The Regent Arcade is a 1980s-built shopping centre, and a leading retail hub for Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

Willmott Dixon was appointed to redevelop the three-storey centre, creating space for two flagship stores for H&M and River Island. Retail operations could not be interrupted and the main entrance had to stay open from 0700hrs to 1900hrs for 364 days of the year.

Challenges and solutions

The upper floors and the roof of the centre had to be demolished and rebuilt while retailers traded as normal underneath.

Willmott Dixon's solution was to build the first-floor slap, plus a temporary bird cage roof, to protect the retail units below while demolishing the upper storeys. This maintained watertightness until the new mall roof went on. It also acted as a crash deck, and allowed soft strip and service alterations to proceed during the day rather than at night.

This was a very constrained site, with a pedestrianised shopping street to the front, other retailers to the rear, and party walls on either side.

Willmott Dixon negotiated with Gloucestershire Council to position its hoarding on the shopping street, which gave sufficient space for the façade scaffold, a crane, and deliveries. Demolition was progressed by hand initially, until enough space had been created in the site to bring plant onto the site.

To minimise impact on neighbours and retail operations, Willmott Dixon reused demolition waste as fill for the basements and piling mat – reducing vehicle movements on and off site, and boosting the project's environmental credentials.

“Willmott Dixon's project manager Paul Rice maintained excellent client liaison, and kept the retail tenants happy; any potential problems were identified well in advance and Paul's proactive approach identified practical solutions.”

Matt Sawyer, senior project manager, Norman Rourke Pryme (client project manager)

Performance

On Willmott Dixon's customer satisfaction questionnaire at the end of the project, the majority of scores were 10 out of 10, and none were lower than 9.

No retail trading time was lost in the entire project.