AN extra 10,000 seats will be built at stadium:mk after a deal to bring top retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Primark, to Denbigh was completed.
Inter MK – the consortium which brought Asda and Ikea to the city and enabled Milton Keynes Dons chairman Pete Winkelman to build the stadium – announced a new retail development is to be completed in time for the start of next season.
Due to be known as the MK1 Shopping Park the retail centre will be built adjacent to the home of the Dons.
It will benefit from a £56 million investment by The Crown Estate, as part of their ongoing strategy to back prime UK retail and signals the strength of the Milton Keynes economy.
Inter MK has received strong support from its public sector stake holders Milton Keynes Council, The Park’s Trust, The Homes and Communities Agency and both MPs to ensure the scheme goes ahead.
Once concluded, the new high quality retail development will comprise 235,000 sq ft split into seven units, benefiting from over 600 exclusive car parking spaces.
Construction will start in the next few weeks with completion scheduled for autumn 2012.
The Shopping Park has been pre-let to top high-street retailers including Marks and Spencer, Primark, Arcadia and River Island with further retailer discussions at an advanced stage.
Construction work on both the retail unit and the stadium will be undertaken by Buckingham Group Contracting – the builders who constructed the stadium:mk.
In recent years Buckingham Group has developed a reputation for delivering the most cutting edge and eye-catching buildings, including London 2012’s handball venue, the Brighton and Hove Albion AMEX Stadium and the Silverstone Wing.
The Shopping Park will enable the important completion of the upper bowl at stadium:mk, taking the capacity from 22,000 to 32,000 and allowing greater, large scale international sports and musical events to take place at the heart of Milton Keynes.
MK Dons Club Partner City Renovations will fit out the upper bowl as Inter MK continues their desire to drive money back into local businesses.
Mr Winkelman said: “I am so pleased we are finally able to start construction work on the MK1 Shopping Park, a development vital to the completion of stadium:mk. This is a project that we have been working on for over four years and has required a lot of patience, dedication and an incredible effort from Milton Keynes stake holders and I am excited to get this over the line, especially in the current financial climate.
“The Shopping Park will complement the strong retail offering in the City Centre and become a fantastic alternative go-to venue, bringing new retailers to the City for both the people of Milton Keynes and visitors to our region. The completion of stadium:mk has been a priority of mine since the day the first fan walked through the gates, it will make the home of MK Dons even more spectacular and become a venue of which everyone in Milton Keynes can be extremely proud.
“With the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel already a huge success, international events at the stadium, the Shopping Park’s imminent opening, plus the arena and even a potential casino, the stadium:mk site will certainly be one of the most captivating and vibrant entertainment locations in our region.”
James Cooksey, Head of the Regional Portfolio at The Crown Estate, said: “We are delighted to have secured this exciting project, and with the quality of the tenant line up it will create one the best retail parks in the country.”
David Hill, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council, said: “It will bring a significant number of jobs to Milton Keynes and the wider South East Midlands area, boost the local economy and enable the completion of the iconic stadiummk. The MK1 Shopping Park will complement the existing excellent retail facilities within Milton Keynes. The project as a whole has benefited from the cross-party support of the councillors of Milton Keynes Council.”