London, 4th January 2018 – McArthurGlen confirmed today that McLaren Construction has been appointed on the £90 million Phase II extension of Ashford Designer Outlet ahead of building works commencing later this month. The expansion forms part of the Group’s 1.6 million sq ft active development pipline coming through over the next three years across Europe and Canada.
McArthurGlen first announced plans to expand the Ashford Designer Outlet in 2014 and secured planning approval from Ashford Borough Council in September 2015. During that time the centre’s popularity has continued to soar and it now welcomes over 3.6 million guests every year.
Scheduled to open in Autumn 2019, the 100,000 sq ft extension will deliver up to 50 additional premium and luxury brands, a new food piazza, an events space and a redesigned children’s play area, as well as 725 new parking spaces. The expansion will also include the installation of Europe’s largest living wall structure and many of the stores in the new phase will be clad in tens of thousands of plants, all stacked vertically.
Claude Hargreave, Regional Development Director at McArthurGlen, said: “After four years of meticulous planning we’re incredibly excited to confirm that building works on the extension will commence this January. Over the next 18 months we will be investing £90 million into the centre to elevate the whole shopping experience for our guests and the retail environment for our brand partners. Once the extension is complete Ashford Designer Outlet will become one of the UK’s flagship fashion, food and homeware destinations, with over 130 stores, restaurants and cafes.“
This will be Ashford Designer Outlet's first extension since opening in 2000. The existing 185,000 sq ft. centre, which has the world's largest tented retail structure, was designed by the renowned architect Richard Rogers who is famous for the Lloyd's building in London as well as The O2 Arena.
Several new and exciting premium and luxury brands are already signed up to join Ashford Designer Outlet when it opens next year. Adrian Nelson, McArthurGlen’s Group Leasing and Brand Development Director said: “We are committed to expanding the extensive range of brands already on offer. In the past three years alone we’ve introduced highly sought-after brands including Calvin Klein, All Saints, Diesel, Cath Kidston, Osprey London, Jack Wills, Timberland and Abercrombie & Fitch.”
The expansion of Ashford Designer Outlet is one of eight major projects highlighted by Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council as key employment and economic drivers in the development of the area. Generating over 500 jobs, the expansion will also include a complimentaryshuttle bus linking the outlet, the town centre and the international train station at weekends and during the school holidays. McArthurGlen is also providing funds for the enhancement of pedestrian and cycle routes from the station.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We are pleased to hear McArthurGlen announce its building contractor and confirm that building works will commence shortly. The expansion of the Designer Outlet will transform it into one of the UK’s premier outlet centres, enhancing the shopping experience and providing a complementary offer to our town centre. This news illustrates the confidence that major investors have in Ashford and the borough’s future. It is clear that we are gaining a growing reputation as a town attracting inward investment and high-calibre, quality brands.”