The regeneration is part of a £35-million investment to incorporate the Long Shop as part of the extension of Swindon Designer Outlet, which will add 50,000 sq ft/4,700 sq m of new retail space, to bring the total to 250,000 sq ft/23,000 sq m.
The extension will also create around 350 new jobs once the works are finished in early 2015, increasing the total number of people employed at Swindon Designer Outlet to 1,100, making the centre a key employer in the town, which is just off the M4, west of London.
This will be the third extension of Swindon Designer Outlet since it opened in 1997, nearly 20 years ago. The centre was originally developed and is still managed by McArthurGlen. It is owned by Henderson Global Investors within the Outlet Mall Partnership - a fund for institutional investors, and one in which McArthurGlen itself invests.
Sven Gaede, McArthurGlen's UK Managing Director, says: "The start of the refurbishment and expansion works today is great news for Swindon and for the South West. It marks the relaunch of the centre as the region's must-visit fashion and shopping destination.
"As part of the extension, we will be bringing in new, exciting brands and improving the overall shopping experience. Shoppers will now also be able to experience and enjoy first-hand the refurbished Long Shop, with its conservation ensured for future generations."
Andrew Rich, Fund Manager for the Henderson UK Outlet Mall Fund, adds: "Swindon is a very successful centre within our outlet mall portfolio, and the expansion is part of our investment strategy to continue to deliver strong performance for our investors in a fund that has returned almost 10% IRR in a difficult period for the UK economy and property market, demonstrating the resilience of the outlet mall sector."
Ian Piper, CEO of Forward Swindon, the economic growth and regeneration company for Swindon, says: "We're delighted to see this level of investment into Swindon, and the enhanced facility will offer more high-quality shopping and eating options for our residents and workers, as well as visitors from further afield.
"The challenge of creating a stronger connection between the Swindon Designer Outlet and the rest of the town centre, as identified in the Masterplan, is an important element of our work at Forward Swindon."
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