As one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, the MetroCentre is located in Gateshead, opened in 1986 and has progressively expanded over the years and now has 4,300,000sq ft of retail floor space. With a takeover in 2013 by Intu Properties, the MetroCentre has undergone some major redevelopments, of which Desco has provided its services.
Desco have been involved in a number of the redevelopment works at the MetroCentre, providing the mechanical and electrical design services. The first of the projects was the development of the Red Mall.
Formerly the Red Mall comprised of an ASDA superstore, but the refurbishment and extension plan included the demolition of the former ASDA store to create a further 28 shops, including a three-level department store, Debenhams, and a new multi storey car park to house 1100 spaces. The redevelopment also included the new state-of-the-art Public Transport Interchange at the end of the Blue Mall. The new interchange replaced the former bus station and provides an improved bus link to many parts of the North East and also accommodates coaches.
After the Red Mall redevelopment, Desco were appointed to provide the M&E works on the redevelopment of the Yellow Mall to create the ‘Qube’. Before the refurbishment, the Yellow Mall included an indoor funfair and a themed restaurant area. These areas were reconstructed to create the new ‘Qube’, which has a new food area which includes brands like YOSushi!, Pizza Express and Frankie and Benny’s. The Odeon cinema, relocated from the Blue Mall to the Yellow Mall, comprises 12 digital screens — including several 3D screens and an IMAX Digital, the first in the North East. The ‘Qube’ also includes a new family entertainment centre – Namco Funscape, which includes a new ten pin bowling alley, dodgems and a soft play area.
Following the first Qube development, it was decided that a ‘Qube II’ would be created. This involved the redevelopment of the remaining themed restaurant area to create a further 12 restaurants, including brands like Thaikun, Bar Burrito and Five Guys, the first of the brands to open in the North East.
Another project Desco have delivered the mechanical and electrical design services for is the Platinum Mall. This involved the upgrade and refurbishment of the Central Mall to create a section of the mall focused on higher-end retail stores which included improved lighting and décor.
The most recent project was the redevelopment of 12 units on the upper floor and the former BHS on the lower floor, to create a new 85,000sq ft Next retail store — the second largest store in the country. The new store boasts all of the latest fashion for women, men and children’s wear, a home department and a Costa Coffee.