The enhanced leisure offer at The Grafton Cambridge has been further boosted with a lease renewal, for an additional 20 years, by Vue Entertainment and the opening of a new 17,500 sq ft PureGym.
The news further builds on the appeal for customers following the recent completion of a £28.5 million refurbishment of the 500,000 sq ft shopping centre that is owned by Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIM RA) and asset managed by Wrenbridge. The improved leisure offer includes repurposing the former BHS anchor store unit, including the creation of a new casual dining quarter, Food Social. Both deals show a commitment of the long-term leisure anchors following L&G’s investment.
The lease renewal of the eight-screen Vue, which offers every customer a fully-reclining leather seat, comes at a time of national prosperity for movies according to the UK Cinema Association. It reports the British box office is heading for its best year in almost five decades. UK attendance is expected to be up by some 6m on 2017, achieving its best attendance numbers since 1971.
The new PureGym will offer extended opening hours and an extensive programme of classes to appeal to a wide section of the catchment. Duncan Costin, Property Director at PureGym said:
“The Grafton is a great location for us to open, with an ever-growing and diverse customer base of students, office workers and local residents. We’ve been able to work with Legal & General to create a gym that offers customers a first-class work out in a vibrant and spacious environment. We look forward to welcoming new members in 2019.”
The only shopping destination in Cambridge to offer a retail, leisure and f&b mix, The Grafton Cambridge includes Bella Italia, Debenhams Restaurant, Costa Coffee, Millies Cookies and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Amélie, a new Alsatian flammekueche restaurant, opened in summer 2018.
Tom Williams, Fund Manager at LGIM Real Assets, said: “The refurbishment of The Grafton has modernised the centre, creating a bright and spacious destination for families, local residents and students. Enhancing the leisure offer is a hugely important part of this. The arrival of PureGym, and Vue Cinema renewing its lease, is indicative of the confidence that our existing tenants have in the scheme.”
The Grafton has 56 retail and f&b units and is anchored by Debenhams and River Island. Other brands include Next, H&M and H&M Home, Deichmann Shoes, USC, Boots, Trespass, Clarks, Yours Clothing and The Entertainer, plus the UK’s second Decathlon store located in a shopping centre.
The Grafton’s new brand identity reflects the mall refresh which has enhanced the visitor experience, encouraged increased dwell time and improved the footfall, which now stands at 9.5 million per year. The Grafton is ranked in the top five retail and leisure destinations in East Anglia, according to Trevor Wood Associates.
Agents for the scheme are BNP Paribas and Bidwells. Corstorphine & Wright was the architect for the refurbishment project.