Rushmere signs fashion chains for mall extension

Rushmere Shopping Centre in Northern Ireland has secured a clutch of key lettings, reinforcing its claims to be the top fashion destination for mid-Ulster.

MKOne, Barratts, HMV and four Arcadia fascias - Top Shop, Top Man, Burtons and Dorothy Perkins - are paying£80 per sq ft (£861 per sq m) Zone A for space in a new 150,000 sq ft (13,935 sq m) extension to the scheme, due to open on October 21.

A joint Top Shop and Top Man operation will occupy 7,000 sq ft (650 sq m), while Burtons and Dorothy Perkins will trade jointly from 5,600 sq ft (520 sq m). MKOne has taken 5,400 sq ft (500 sq m), HMV 4,500 sq ft (420 sq m) and Barratts 2,200 sq ft (205 sq m).

The£23 million extension is being anchored by an 82,000 sq ft (7,620 sq m) Debenhams, destined to create 230 full and part-time jobs.

Original plans for a smaller 80,000 sq ft (7,430 sq m) extension were scaled up by Stannifer, which owns half the centre via a joint venture, in response to employment and residential growth in Craigavon, strategically located 27 miles southwest of Belfast on the M1 motorway in Co Armagh.

Stannifer leasing director Tim Buckley said: 'There is a lot of pent up demand, because a lot of people are moving into the area.'

Rushmere Shopping Centre opened in 1976 as the town centre of Craigavon, Northern Ireland's first New Town.

Craigavon boasts a growing manufacturing sector, plus one of the lowest unemployment rates in the province. Over the past two years, Northern Ireland's Housing Executive has invested£14 million in Craigavon, with more than£7 million earmarked for the town during the current year.

McConnell Martin is the letting agent for Rushmere Shopping Centre.