Festival Place dines out with another two additions, both new to Hampshire

North Hampshire’s largest retail and leisure destination is set to attract even more diners with the signing of two further casual dining brands to open at Festival Place, Basingstoke. AEW has announced that Chi Restaurants and Granier have both chosen the 1.1m sq ft retail and leisure destination as the place to be for their first locations in the region.

Spanish operator Granier is set to open its second UK bakery and patisserie in a 1,400 sq ft unit. It will offer visitors a delicious selection of freshly baked breads, homemade sandwiches and mouth-watering pastries. Meanwhile, Asian inspired street food operator Chi will open a 500 sq ft restaurant, its first in Hampshire and third in the UK. Renowned for its soft and fluffy steamed bao buns and appetising rice and noodle dishes, the new signings will tantalise the millions of visitors to Festival Place. Both brands are operated by Providence Bay Restaurants,a team made up of ex chef’s and restaurant operators.

Aidan Tjinakiet, Director at Providence Bay Restaurants, said: “It was an easy decision for us to choose Festival Place for our new openings due to its wide and varied catchment and its ongoing success in stark contrast to other parts of the wider industry. It will provide us with a strong platform to launch Granier and Chi to Hampshire. Both brands have been well received elsewhere and we’re certain that visitors to the centre will enjoy our wide-range of flavoursome dishes and delights.”

The new additions will further boost the menu of casual dining restaurants and cafés at Festival Place. They will join Ask Italian, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, PizzaExpress, Las Iguanas, The Sushi Maki, Kokoro and Patisserie Valerie plus more recent openings including Cosy Club and Côte Brasserie.

Festival Place is the highest ranked shopping centre both in Hampshire and outside a major city. In 2019, Festival Place was ranked 17th by Global Data top 50 UK shopping centres report and 21st by Trevor Wood Associates, positioning it within the Premier League of shopping centres.

Acquired by AEW in December 2015, the destination has undergone a transformation evolving it into a true retail and leisure destination. The transformation of previously redundant space has opened up the potential to diversify the offer with more leisure and create a more varied, mixed-use destination. This has been paramount to Festival Place’s success which is reflected by significant retailer confidence. Since January 2016, AEW has signed more than 80 new tenants and 108 existing brands have demonstrated their confidence in the scheme, investing into their stores, renewing leases, upgrading fit-outs, rightsizing and relocating.

Russell Jewel, Head of Private Equity Funds at AEW, said: “The new signings and their grab-and-go, quick and easy offer will provide even more choice for the broad variety of visitors to the centre. Festival Place is a retail and leisure destination for visitors from within its broad and affluent catchment, local residents and office workers. Having a strong dining offer really helps to support dwell time and the appeal to the various target audiences, to the benefit of our tenants. We hope that the new signings will support the centre’s positioning at the heart of the local community and the main destination for shopping and socialising in North Hampshire.”

Festival Place is home to more than 200 retail, dining and leisure brands including Apple, Moss Bros, Mountain Warehouse, Oasis and trampoline park Flip Out. 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.

Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the centre.