AEW has announced it has signed Cosy Club to open at its 1.1m sq ft retail, dining and leisure centre, Festival Place in Basingstoke. The new signing will provide an entirely new f&b concept for the scheme, evolving the line up at the largest shopping destination in North Hampshire.
Casual dining operator Cosy Club, part of the Loungers brand, will introduce a unique wet-led offer to Festival Place. Opening in a 5,300 sq ft unit, it will be the brand’s second location in Hampshire. Celebrating the joys of dining, drinking and lounging, the restaurant will provide visitors with a third space between home and work to meet, eat, chat and drink in a relaxed, quirky and eccentric atmosphere. Combining aristocratic abundance with local village cricket pavilion pottiness, it will evolve the existing f&b line-up at the centre, creating a destination which complements the wider retail, dining and leisure offer at Festival Place. In addition to providing an all-day offer, serving everything from a lazy breakfast to brunch and tapas, a key aspect will be the cocktail bar, catering to the growing evening economy at Festival Place. Additionally, it will also benefit from a private dining room, ideal for private parties and events.
Amber Wood, Managing Director at Cosy Club, said: “Customers describe Cosy Club as a home away from home which is why we chose Festival Place’s location within the town centre as the destination for the next opening. We believe our restaurant will support the centre’s growing position as an all-day destination, offering a variety of leisure experiences to complement the traditional retail offer. We’re also looking forward to expanding the wet-led offer and helping to develop a thriving evening economy.”
Famed for its eclectic, vintage interior style based on the features and history of the buildings, towns and cities in which it’s located. Mix matched tables and dining chairs, battered old cocktail armchairs, sleek 1930’s sofas and mid-century side boards will sit alongside William Morris classics, family portraits and iconic 1950’s artwork on the walls. Vast Gothic chandeliers and the odd piece of taxidermy will create an atmospheric oasis within the shopping destination in the heart of Basingstoke, creating another reason to visit and to stay for longer.
Acquired by AEW in December 2015, Festival Place is ranked 17th in the Global Data Survey for shopping centre destinations and 21st in 2018 by Trevor Wood Associates. This positions it in the Premier League of shopping centres meaning it is the highest ranked shopping centre outside a major city. A two-year refurbishment and rebranding programme has introduced almost 35 new brands to the town and encouraged more than 60 existing tenants to renew their leases, rightsize, upgrade or refurbish their stores.
Festival Place is home to more than 200 retail, dining and leisure brands including Apple, Zara, River Island, FatFace, GAP, Jack Wills and Superdry. Its 27 restaurants including Côte Brasserie, Ask Italian, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, PizzaExpress, Las Iguanas, The Sushi Maki and Patisserie Valerie.
Russell Jewell, Head of Private Equity Funds at AEW, said: “The refurbishment and rebranding programme at Festival Place has helped to strengthen the centre’s position as a destination, which further provides a great experience for all. By diversifying the casual dining offer we’re able to cater to a wider audience, attracting visitors from a wider catchment whilst improving the provision for the local community too. Cosy Club will create a real point of difference, providing an offer with a very different style which is something that will really appeal to the increasingly broad catchment we’re attracting.”
The signing strengthens Festival Place’s position at the heart of the local community and the main destination for shopping and socialising in North Hampshire. With some 1.7 million residents within a 30-minute drive, plus 11,500 office workers within a 10-minute walk, the centre offers even more than retail, dining and leisure. It features a spectrum of additional attractions to appeal to the local community including Basingstoke Sports Centre with swimming pool, gym and over 100 studio classes, a 10-screen Vue Cinema, a Flip Out trampoline park, plus office space and a library with author talks and workshops.
Some 25 per cent of shoppers now visit more often because the choice of shops has changed and 15 per cent visit more often because of changes to the look-and-feel of the centre, according to CACI research. Shoppers are visiting the centre more frequently and spending more time and money compared to national averages. Additionally, almost half of those visiting Festival Place more frequently do so because of changes to the centre. The average retail spend and the number of shoppers that are buying have both increased when compared to 2016, prior to the refurbishment work commencing.
Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the centre.