Retail Property - Wolverhampton fights back with new mall scheme

Following the Bullring opening in Birmingham city centre, nearby Wolverhampton aims to continue its traditional rivalry with a new shopping scheme of up to 500,000 sq ft (46,450 sq m).

Wolverhampton City Council has identified an 8 acre (3.2ha) site to the south of the existing shopping centres - London & Cambridge Properties' Wulfrun Centre and Prudential's Mander Centre. Drivers Jonas has been appointed to advise on development, planning and compulsory purchase.

A planning brief, envisaging a comprehensive redevelopment, with retail and a significant number of new residential units, is now out for public consultation.

Drivers Jonas associate partner George Barnes said: 'The city needs something to stitch the existing retail together.'

Barnes added that early discussions had attracted strong interest from a department store as anchor for the scheme.

Initial marketing is likely to begin next month, but Barnes warned potential developers that to assemble the site as it stands would mean buying in 90 different interests.

Wolverhampton councillor Louise Miles, responsible for economic development, said: 'The development of this site is an important part of the council's vision for the rejuvenation of Wolverhampton city centre, providing a boost to the city centre shopping facilities within a scheme that will be closely integrated to our emerging urban village.'