We are very happy to announce that we are currently undergoing a £5million refurbishment. Further details of the facelift is that the end product should create around 30 new jobs. The developments will be starting in Spring of this year and reaching completion around the same time in 2018.
The work, which is being paid for by our landlord NewRiver REIT, will focus on a number of areas in our 34-year old shopping centre, with an intention to ‘restore the pride’.
Already a number of initial ‘works’ have been completed with a new events space in our middle mall, and the relocation of Grind/Melt Café to a brand-new venue at the Almshouse Lane entrance.
We will have the introduction of ‘The Ridings Kitchen,’ a new food and beverage zone located at our Cathedral entrance with local caterers providing the food offer. The Ridings Kitchen will have a large communal seating area with space for 200 covers plus space for 3-5 hot food outlets and a dessert bar.
We are also pleased to announce the creation of a high quality indoor market and food hall, known as ‘All Saints Market’ on our lower mall, selling locally sourced produce.
Fully renovated toilets and parent and child facilities will also be provided for our customers, alongside new toilets on our upper mall.
Our new customer service lounge will provide additional shopper services like mobile device charging and Click and Collect services.
Implemented by a new look and feel – The Ridings ‘at the heart of Wakefield’ brand has also been launched, firmly outlining our ambitions of being a focal point for the city of Wakefield.
The new ‘pop up’ up shop will showcase our exciting plans to the public allowing them to input and feed back ideas. The space will also provide independent local businesses with a flexible trading space, as well as students for activities such as entrepreneurial challenges.
At the same time, Lee Appleton, our new Regional Centre Director joined the team. Lee has spent over 5 years in shopping centre management plus over 17 in management roles at Debenhams and boasts several industry awards to his name.
“The Ridings has literally been at the heart of Wakefield for 34 years and so we are delighted to announce that with this £5m refurbishment, it will remain that way”, says Centre Director Lee Appleton.
“We’ve already listened to customers prior to the works starting and have reflected their asks in the programme. I hope that customers old and new will be as excited as we are to see the changes from the shiny new facilities to the great food and beverage offer, with a focus and warmth and personality. I would also like to thank all our customers over the last 34 years and look forward to seeing them enjoy our changes over the coming year,” he adds.
NewRiver Director Paul Wright says, “Since purchasing The Ridings in 2016, we’ve worked on a number of strategic development areas aimed at delivering improvements to The Ridings and adding something unique to Wakefield City Centre. Following the success of the Wakefield BID vote in February 2017, we’re delighted to be investing in the city and looking forward to delivering value for city centre businesses and the local community.”
Staying true to our tyke roots, all works will be carried out with a Yorkshire twist, giving the centre a personality that simply won’t be found elsewhere. As a result, signage throughout the centre will utilise Yorkshire dialect with messages such as a friendly ‘Ey Up’.
At the same time we will be creating a Customer Board and is appealing for a range of people of different ages and backgrounds to come forward who have an interest in The Ridings, so they can also have an input both in the refurbishment but also the on-going future of the centre.