MetroCentre
MetroCentre logo
The Green Quadrant of the MetroCentre
Map
LocationGateshead, Tyne and Wear, England
Coordinates54°57′25″N 1°40′08″W / 54.9569°N 1.6689°W / 54.9569; -1.6689
Opening date14 October 1986; 37 years ago (1986-10-14)[1]
Previous namesintu Metrocentre
DeveloperCameron Hall Developments
No. of stores and services270
No. of anchor tenants
8
Total retail floor area2,076,000 sq ft (192,900 m2)[2]
No. of floors2
Parkingalmost 10,000 spaces
Public transit access
Websitethemetrocentre.co.uk

Metrocentre is a shopping centre and entertainment complex in the Dunston area of Gateshead. It is located on the former site of Dunston Power Station, near to the River Tyne.

Metrocentre opened in stages, with the first phase opening on 28 April 1986, and the official opening being held on 14 October that year. It has more than 300 shops occupying over 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m2) of retail floor space, making it the second-largest shopping centre in the UK, behind Westfield London. Additional retail space can be found in the adjoining Metro Retail Park and MetrOasis.

History

The logo used from 2004 to 2009; the stylised "M" is based on the previous grey-coloured symbol used from 1987

Metrocentre's construction was financed by the Church Commissioners of England, and was masterminded by Sir John Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments. The ground upon which it is built was purchased for £100,000 in the early 1970s.[3] Access to the development was facilitated by an urban development grant from the Department of the Environment, and the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead.[4]

The first phase of the development, the Red Mall, was opened in April 1986. At the time, it featured a large Carrefour supermarket, which later became a Gateway, and subsequently Asda. Metrocentre also featured the first out-of-town branch of Marks & Spencer.[5]

In August 1987 the MetroCentre railway station, which is connected to the centre via a covered footbridge, was opened by British Rail.[6]

1990s–2000s

In October 1995, the centre was sold to Capital Shopping Centres (later intu Properties) for £364 million, although the Church Commissioners retained a 10% stake.[3]

In 1997, Asda moved from Metrocentre to a larger stand-alone store nearby, facilitating the redevelopment of the Red Mall, anchored by a Debenhams department store, opened in October 2004. The refurbishment programme at the time also included the construction of a new Transport Interchange, sited at the edge of the Blue Mall, replacing the former bus station.

In November 2006, centre owner Capital Shopping Centres announced plans to redevelop the centre's Yellow Mall.[7] The Metroland indoor funfair closed in April 2008, and the area, along with the neighbouring Clockworks Food Court, has since been refurbished to become Metrocentre Qube.

Until August 2007, when it was purchased for £82.5 million, the adjacent retail park was not under the same ownership as the shopping centre.[8]

2010s–2020s

In December 2009 the Odeon relocated from the Blue Mall to the Qube, and in Autumn 2010, the first TK Maxx Homesense store opened on the site of the former cinema in the Blue Mall. In 2012 the Central Mall was redeveloped as the Platinum Mall, which focuses on higher-end stores and designer outlets. Initial stores in the Platinum Mall included Mamas & Papas, H&M Kids and Tessuti.

The centre was rebranded as intu Metrocentre in 2013, following the renaming of its parent Capital Shopping Centres Group as intu Properties.[9]

In March 2018, a 78,000 sq ft Next store opened, taking twelve shops on the upper floor, and the former BHS unit on the lower level, to create one of the largest Next stores in the country.[10][11] Next further expanded their presence in the centre in 2020 by opening a Beauty & Home store in the former Debenhams anchor unit.[12]

On 26 October 2020, it was announced that Sovereign Centros was to oversee asset management of the centre on behalf of owners Metrocentre Partnership, following the collapse of intu.[13] The shopping centre was again rebranded, as The Metrocentre, with Savills as on-site property managers. Owners, the Metrocentre Partnership[14] includes Church Commissioners and GIC Real Estate.

Malls and retailers

The Red Mall extension
Interior of Red Mall extension in 2007

The Metrocentre has five malls: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow and Platinum.

Many large retail chains are represented in the centre. It is anchored by a number of large stores and department stores:

Major fashion retailers include: All Saints, H&M, New Look, Next, Primark, River Island and Zara.

Other major retailers include: Boots, Hotel Chocolat, Poundland, WH Smith, Ann Summers, Lush, Waterstones, Lego, and Apple.

Leisure facilities

The New Metroland, previously Europe's largest indoor amusement park

The centre's leisure facilities, which are mainly located in the Qube / Yellow Mall, consist of an Odeon cinema and Namco Funscape, Clip & Climb, Treetop Golf and Escapologist Escape Rooms which are due to open in June 2024.

The Odeon, a 12 screen cinema, opened in 2010. It features a VIP lounge, as well as multiple 3D screens, and an IMAX Digital – the first in the north-east of England.

Namco Funscape is located on the lower floor, and is a family entertainment centre including an 18-lane ten-pin bowling alley, dodgem ride and soft play.

Treetop Golf, which opened in upper Qube in late 2023, features two 18 hole mini golf courses. Clip & Climb in lower Qube is home to 26 climbing walls and a 10m drop slide.

In November 2023 Everlast Gyms opened the UK's largest hybrid gym on what was the top floor of the former Debenhams Department Store. The 40,000 sq ft gym includes a full size boxing ring, spin studio, yoga room, saunas and ice baths.

The Qube's exterior is clad with zinc and glass, to distinguish it as the entertainment part of the centre.[15]

Qube is also home to a number of restaurants, including Bella Italia, Nando's, Pizza Express, YO! Sushi and Zizzi.


Metroland

The centre also featured an entirely enclosed theme park called Metroland. Renamed The New Metroland following refurbishment works by operators Arlington Leisure in 1996, it was Europe's largest indoor amusement park until its closure in 2008. Metroland opened in February 1988 at the cost of £20 million. The park's main rides included a rollercoaster, Ferris wheel, pirate ship, waltzers, a miniature railway and dodgem cars.

On the final weekend before its closure (19–20 April 2008), the park held the 'Last Ride Weekend', where the admission price was £5 for the whole day, with unlimited access to all the rides.[7] The park finally closed at 8:00 pm on 20 April 2008, despite strong local opposition, and petitions raising around 4,000 signatures. Proceeds from the last night of operation went to charity.

After the closure, many of the park's rides were either scrapped or sold off, with the rollercoaster being relocated to The Big Sheep, a farm and theme park complex in Devon, where it reopened in March 2016.[16] The park offered a free ride to visitors from the North-East of England for a period after the rollercoaster's reopening.[17][18]

Metro Retail Park

Metro Retail Park occupies over 183,000 sq ft of space and is home to 15 brands, the majority of which are home and lifestyle brands. Situated to the west of Metrocentre it has the layout of a conventional out-of-town retail park, with large stores such as Barker and Stonehouse, Oak Furniture Land and Furniture Village.

The former Toys R Us unit was demolished in November 2022 to make way for a £5m redevelopment to bring in three new units, occupying over 25,000 sq ft of space. Work also included the introduction of 6 rapid EV charging units and increased cycle bay provision.[19] [20]

metrOasis

The metrOasis retail area, on the perimeter of the shopping centre, opened to the public in September 2012. It is located between Qube and the Metro Retail Park, on the site of a former petrol station. The development is home to a range of dining and entertainment venues, with construction beginning in January 2012. The retail area includes drive-thru Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Starbucks, as well as a Toby Carvery and Burger King.

Transport

Metrocentre has a large bus station and the MetroCentre railway station is connected to the centre via a covered footbridge. The centre's car parking facilities has approximately 10,000 spaces.[21]

References

  1. ^ Metrocentre History
  2. ^ "intu Annual Report 2018" (PDF). 2018. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Barbara Hodgson (29 October 2016). "How Gateshead's Metrocentre was made - and why it was built on a 'great big clarty field'". Newcastle Chronicle.
  4. ^ Paul Freathy (2003). The Retailing Book: Principles and Applications. Prentice Hall Financial Times. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-273-65548-0.
  5. ^ David Morton (3 April 2016). "The Metrocentre at 30: Three decades of retail therapy in the heart of Tyneside". Newcastle Chronicle.
  6. ^ "MetroCentre Railway Station". abcrailwayguide.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Public Consultation for Yellow and Blue Mall Proposals" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  8. ^ Purchase of Metro Retail Park, Metrocentre, 23 August 2007 [dead link]
  9. ^ Soult, Graham (11 July 2013). "Gateshead's Metrocentre prepares for overnight Intu-fication". Soult's Retail Report. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  10. ^ Ford, Coreena. "BHS store in Metrocentre is snapped up by Next, creating new jobs". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  11. ^ Duke, Simon (6 March 2018). "Next opens huge new flagship store at the Metrocentre". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  12. ^ Whitfield, Graeme (25 August 2020). "Next to take over former Debenhams in Metrocentre with move into beauty market". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  13. ^ Ford, Coreena (26 October 2020). "Metrocentre passes to new management after collapse of owners Intu". Business Live. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  14. ^ Deacon, Harry (27 October 2020). "Intu offloads Gateshead Metrocentre to new owner". Retail Sector. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  15. ^ "State-of-the-art IMAX cinema for MetroCentre Odeon". Chronicle Live. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  16. ^ "New MetroLand - Coasterpedia - The Roller Coaster and Flat Ride Wiki". coasterpedia.net. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  17. ^ Hodgson, Barbara. "Metroland ride gets rolling again - and North East fans can enjoy a free ride". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Devon's Biggest Coaster at The Big Sheep". ThemeParks-UK. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  19. ^ https://themetrocentre.co.uk/stores/category/shopping/metro-retail-park#storesList
  20. ^ https://themetrocentre.co.uk/news/metro-retail-park
  21. ^ Jeffery, Sarah (23 November 2016). "Metrocentre Gateshead: An insider's guide to the UK's largest shopping centre". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 April 2021.