BREAKING: Major mystery investor ploughs money into Arndale Centre

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A major international company has invested in Eastbourne’s Arndale Centre extension scheme in what is being seen as a major vote of confidence.

The actual identity of the “major international partner” is not being revealed and neither is the amount of cash involved in the deal, which has been announced this lunchtime (Monday).

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In a statement issued by the Arndale Centre’s owners Legal & General Investment Management Retail Assets, the deal is described as a joint venture with a major international partner to invest in the extension and the existing Arndale Centre, which has a combined value of £220million.

The news has been welcomed as an amazing thumbs-up for the town centre regeneration by Eastbourne Borough Council and the Eastbourne & District Chamber of Commerce.

Observers say the significant injection of capital will enhance the existing Arndale Shopping centre as well as kick-start the scheme’s £85million retail and leisure extension, contributing to the wider regeneration of the local area in collaboration with Eastbourne council.

The new investment bolsters plans for the major 175,000 sq ft retail and leisure extension which is expected to create approximately 800 retail and catering jobs. The new extension, which includes the demolition of buildings to the west of the centre along Terminus Road, will bring an additional 22 new retail units, approximately 300 extra car parking spaces, seven restaurants and a nine-screen cinema to Eastbourne town centre. A building contract is now in place and construction works have begun with completion expected in autumn 2018.

James Whitehill at LGIM Real Assets, said, “This injection of international capital by a key investment partner, alongside Legal & General’s existing ownership and investment, ensures the further strengthening of an already dominant retail destination. We have already secured a host of excellent retailers for the extension to include a major cinema operator as well as many popular restaurants in a boost to both the town’s day time and night time economy.”

Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt said, “I am delighted with the confidence this private investment demonstrates in the future of our town. The council will continue to work closely with the developer to ensure the success of this important project.

“This, together with the transformation of the Devonshire Park, plans for a new swimming pool and fresh employment opportunities at Sovereign Harbour, demonstrate how Eastbourne is bucking the trend in a period of austerity.”

Christina Ewbank, chief executive of the Eastbourne & District Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement of foreign investment in the town had come at a perfect time.

“We have read a lot about post-Brexit blues, so I am delighted a major foreign investor has given our wonderful town a massive thumbs-up,” she said.

“Eastbourne is going places and the shopping centre extension is one of many great developments set to transform our town.”

New signings for the extension include Cineworld, Next, H & M, Fat Face, New Look, Nando’s, Carluccio’s, Wagamama, Byron, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s and Ask. Work has been carried out on the first £2 million phase of the extension to create a contemporary glass atrium at the centre’s west entrance and new facades to the Terminus Road frontage.

LGIM Real Assets has a long-term track record of regenerating towns and cities across the UK and has a depth of experience in creating unique retail and leisure destinations. Current major projects include a £240 million retail and leisure scheme in Bracknell which is a part of one of the largest urban regeneration schemes currently being built in the UK, as well as a £53 million investment to acquire and fund the development of St James, Dover, a new retail and leisure scheme at the heart of Dover town centre.