Mercia Marina has begun work on a new £3m retail, restaurant and office development.
The building, called The Piazza, will sit alongside the marina’s popular, award-winning Boardwalk development, which opened in 2014.
The three-and-four-storey Piazza building will create a public space around the marina’s unique five-sided bandstand. The Piazza is scheduled for completion in December.
The restaurant space will have a dual outlook, one side overlooking the water and the other side overlooking the public piazza and bandstand. Of the six shops under construction, two are already let and talks are ongoing for a third.
The official ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of work on The Piazza, was attended by Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, Mercia Marina’s general manager Robert Neff, and David Gaskin, director of Davlyn Construction.
The marina is a major regional tourist attraction already with over 800,000 visitors a year. The Piazza development will complement the existing fashion boutiques, gift shops and bar/restaurant within the Boardwalk.
Mercia Marina, in Findern Lane, near Willington, has been Europe’s largest inland canal boat marina since it opened in 2008. Its current expansion plans include the development of more than 32 new luxury holiday lodges, adding to the 23 lodges already on site.
Mr Neff said that the growing popularity of the 74-acre South Derbyshire marina among boaters, holiday lodge owners, shoppers, walkers and other visitors had enabled the management team to proceed with various expansion plans with confidence.
“We opened in September 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, and have continued to invest in South Derbyshire ever since, working closely with Frank McArdle and his team at South Derbyshire District Council, Cllr Martyn Ford and the local community.”