Bristol’s Galleries Shopping Centre to undergo comprehensive redevelopment

CGI of what the Galleries could look like

Major new proposals are being brought forward by Bristol-based developer Deeley Freed, together with owners LaSalle Investment Management, to comprehensively redevelop Bristol’s Galleries Shopping Centre, with consultation events planned for next week.

A spokesperson from Deeley Freed said: “This is an amazing, once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a world-class, sustainable, vibrant destination, one which will help reinvigorate Bristol’s city centre, responding positively to the changing ways we now live, work and shop.”

The Galleries Shopping Centre as it was originally known, opened in October 1991 in the wake of a UK recession. The shopping centre was later bought, renamed the Mall Bristol and managed by Capital & Regional and Aviva Investors.

With the opening of Cabot Circus and the recession of 2008, many of the chain shops moved out of the Galleries and into the new Cabot Circus. This resulted in a large amount of empty shops and a decline of what was Bristol’s main shopping centre for the previous 30 years.

The spokesperson from Deeley Freed continued: “Footfall in the centre is down 35 per cent from pre-pandemic levels. A change in shopping patterns, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to a greater number of vacancies in the Galleries which has made the current centre’s future increasingly challenged.

“The proposals look to create a truly mixed-use and diverse scheme with restaurants, shops, community facilities and leisure destinations that support the day and night-time economy, office space, a hotel, open market and affordable homes, and student living. It will provide a complementary balance and range of uses that support the local community, boost the economy, address Bristol’s changing needs and priorities and ensure it continues to provide something for everyone.”

The Galleries occupies five acres of the city centre. The intention is to convert 30 per cent of this into high-quality public realm with new civic spaces.

The Deeley Freed spokesperson added that Broadmead currently turns its back on Castle Park which is a missed opportunity. The proposals look to reverse this along Newgate with new, vibrant pedestrian linkages into the city centre as well as terraces, with cafes and restaurants facing the park.

These are early proposals, the company is keen to emphasis, and the Galleries will remain open as usual for at least the next two years.

The retail units and occupiers fronting onto Broadmead fall outside of the redevelopment proposals and are not part of the plans.

Vivienne Kennedy from Broadmead BID said: “Shops and shopping centres across the country have been struggling as they try to compete against online retailers and rising living costs, while at the same time trying to bounce back from the pandemic. The high street is constantly evolving, always trying to meet consumer needs as they too change, and we see mixed-use developments, with much more focus on the customer experience, as an excellent way to increase footfall, vibrancy and sustainability. We’d encourage people to get involved in the consultation as it’s in all our interests to get this important opportunity right.”

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