A £25 million revamp of Buttermarket Shopping Centre in the heart of Ipswich has officially completed with the opening of a new 12 screen cinema operated by Empire.
The project was delivered by architecture, sports and leisure firm LK2 and contractor Simons Group. Phase one of the works saw the scheme transformed from a tired shopping centre into a vibrant retail destination, rejuvenating the centre’s retail offering with high street giants such as New Look and TKMaxx trading from larger, newer units.
A second phase of work anchors the centre’s reputation as a leisure destination with the completion of an 18,000 ft² gym, bowling alley, family entertainment centre and a food and drink quarter. This phase was finalised with the opening of the 12 screen multi-plex cinema, owned by Empire, which opened this month.
LK2 secured the project due to its expertise in the retail and leisure sector. During a detailed study, the firm’s expert team of architects were able to determine the redevelopment options for the centre’s owners, working to refurbish and realign the centre through innovative solutions.
Paul Starbuck, director at LK2, said:
“We are immensely proud of this scheme as we feel it has met the needs of the client and optimised the available floor space. By repositioning the shopping centre as a retail and leisure destination, visitors are now encouraged to stay for more than just an hour or so of shopping.
“This increases footfall for traders inside the centre and offering the local community and tourists a variety of leisure activities, positively impacting the area.”
The redevelopment now incorporates more leisure facilities into the centre and provides a diverse offering to visitors. When the building was acquired in 2015 for just £9.6 million, only 43% of the centre’s units were occupied by traders. At the time of its resale in February this year, the centre was 90% occupied, and sold for almost £55 million.
Tom Robinson, Simons chief executive, said:
“We are incredibly proud of what’s been achieved at the Buttermarket – this type of project is no easy feat but working again with the team at LK2 we have achieved a fantastic outcome for the client. Visitors to the centre will undoubtedly have a great experience for years to come.”
LK2 worked closely with contractor Simons Group to deliver the work. This is the second significant redevelopment of a shopping centre that the firms have collaborated on, having worked together to deliver the £9 million regeneration of Waterside shopping centre in Lincoln city centre in 2014.
Kenneth Ford, executive director of Capital & Regional Plc, said:
“As they did at Waterside Lincoln, Paul Starbuck and the LK2 team rose to the ‘repositioning’ challenge presented by another redundant 1990’s shopping centre at Buttermarket Ipswich.
e intrinsic to translating our br
ief into a practical, deliverable solution and then successfully leading the professional team to project delivery. We’re already looking forward to the next one.”