Business leaders have described the new £25m plans for Preston’s Fishergate Centre as a “real vote of confidence in the city.”
The redevelopment of the shopping centre would see the old TJ Hughes store replaced with six modern shop units, a new mall linking to a feature entrance from the car park and a family-oriented leisure offer of five restaurants and a Vue cinema.
A planning application is about to be submitted to Preston Council and a public consultation exercise is underway.
It is estimated the scheme would create around 250 new jobs, along with 150 construction jobs.
Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “If the Fishergate proposal attracts more spend for our businesses, more choice for our residents and visitors and differentiates our current offer then this is encouraging as it supports our goal of attracting more interest and reasons to come to Preston as well as helping to develop the city’s evening economy.”
Entrepreneur Simon Rigby, who owns the Guild Hall, said: “It is terrific to see even more plans to boost the leisure and night time economy of Preston.
“There is so much activity now, including the work we are doing at the Guild Hall and it all adds up to a brighter future for the city centre.
“This level of private sector investment is a real vote of confidence in the city and what we and others are working hard to achieve – a vibrant, strong centre which is welcoming to locals and visitors from across the North West.”
Preston MP Mark Hendrick added: “This is fantastic news for Preston. The proposed redevelopment will be a huge boost to the local economy, bringing jobs and a leisure offer attracting people not just from the city but from the surrounding areas.
“This could also be a catalyst for other major investors looking for opportunities to move into or expand in the North West.”
The plans represent one of the biggest private sector investments in the city centre for more than 20 years.
Peter Cornforth, director of retail at centre owners Benson Elliot, said: “Fishergate wants to up its game and play its part for Preston.”