On Wednesday 4th May, Legal & General Property (“LGP”) announced, on behalf of its UK Property Income Fund II, that it is investing approximately £18.5 million in the refurbishment of The Grafton Centre in Cambridge. Starting in May 2016, The Grafton Centre will undergo a substantial refurbishment programme, including the reconfiguration of retail space to create new units, to attract new retailers, improve the visitor experience and increase footfall to the centre. The centre will also receive a new brand identity to reflect on its vibrant new shopping environment.

The refurbishment of the centre is planned in two phases. Phase one will focus on the Fitzroy Street entrance and Central Court, with expected completion in Summer 2017. Plans for the second phase of the refurbishment are currently being developed, with plans to improve the Great Court and a vision to create a new restaurant quarter for the scheme. The Grafton Centre will remain open for the duration of the refurbishment.

Decathlon has been announced as the first brand to join The Grafton, bringing an exciting new sports brand to the centre. New to Cambridge, Decathlon is taking a ground and first floor unit, spreading over 15,000 sq ft. Offering their full range of sports products, clothing and accessories, for adults and children, the brand fits in well with the city’s demographic.

Tom Williams, Senior Asset Manager, Legal & General Property, said:

“Cambridge is a diverse and growing city and The Grafton Centre has real potential to provide an exciting retail and leisure destination for the city’s growing population. Our vision is to improve the centre by providing new anchor opportunities for retailers and quality retail and leisure space. We are in talks with a number of brands, some new to Cambridge, about taking space in the centre. The Grafton will provide Cambridge with a revitalised shopping, dining and entertainment destination, within a bright and spacious environment for families, locals and students to enjoy”.

Investment into The Grafton Centre is expected to act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area as there is a clear shift in the centre of energy for the city towards the east. There is therefore enormous potential for this increasingly important part of the city, capturing growth of business, residential, transport and infrastructure, with key establishments such as Anglia Ruskin University on the doorstep.

As part of phase one, the Fitzroy Street entrance will feature a striking new double height glazed entrance, providing more natural light. The mall will benefit from feature roof lighting and new double height shop fronts to some of the larger stores. Part of the centre will be reconfigured to provide new retail space totaling 12,000 sq ft, creating an opportunity to attract new brands to the scheme. The Central Court will feature an impressive new skylight and a new catering and seating area.

The second phase of the project will see the refurbishment of The Great Court, including the creation of a new restaurant Quarter. This will provide The Grafton Centre with an exciting new food offering to complement the recently refitted Vue Cinema.

The revitalised shopping and dining offer and creation of bright and contemporary open spaces will increase The Grafton’s appeal to locals, particularly families and students, and encourage increased dwell time, better flow of footfall and an enhanced visitor experience.

The refurbishment of The Grafton Centre is being managed by Wrenbridge, a London and Cambridge-based developer. Corstorphine & Wright are the architects for the project. Bidwells and Strutt & Parker are agents for The Grafton Centre.