Property News - Xscape brand is rolled out to Star City and O2

Capital & Regional is to rebrand the Star City leisure complex in Birmingham and the O2 retail and leisure scheme on London's Finchley Road as Xscape.

The move is part of a massive expansion of its leisure asset management operations.

Another 16 UK leisure parks, where Capital & Regional recently took over as fund manager from Marylebone Warwick Balfour, are to be absorbed into a new X-Space brand that could see the injection of leisure and retail attractions.

The Star City scheme in Birmingham - known locally as 'Stab City' - will be the first to be rebranded, as part of a£15 million upgrade. The scheme has seen declining footfall, but Capital & Regional's leisure operations chief executive P-Y Gerbeau is convinced he can turn the scheme around.

'There is a massive problem with safety at Star City, but we're addressing that as we speak,' he said.

Plans for the scheme include the introduction of a scaled-down indoor ski slope, smaller than the one at Milton Keynes' Xscape, but focussing on tobogganing as much as skiing, and a new assault course attraction called an air park, suspended 20 metres up in the scheme's atrium.

In addition, Gerbeau is in talks with JJB Sports about building five-a-side soccer pitches on the top level of the scheme's car park.

The X-Space portfolio of smaller schemes, which includes sites such as Tower Park in Poole, Dorset and Lockmeadow in Maidstone, Kent, will see the introduction of a central services building, along the lines of the Pod, which C&R is introducing into its Junction retail parks. The X-Space tower will feature a climbing wall as well as retail, including a convenience store, mobile phone shops, dry cleaners and coffee shops.