National construction contractor McLaren has been appointed to oversee the renovation of Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells, following an £11 million investment by its owners, British Land.
The company has started work this month on a significant upgrade to the existing shopping centre, which will include work to replace the flooring throughout the building and the installation of new, high-quality seating areas and bespoke rooflight features.
The 35-week project will also see McLaren remove the innermost staircase to make way for structural alterations which will open up the ground floor space for more retail units and enable the introduction of a locally designed art installation.
As part of the package, McLaren will upgrade lighting and air conditioning systems and redecorate all internal public areas. Enhanced visitor facilities will include refurbished toilets and modernised wayfinding and signage.
The project will be carried out in night-time hours from November 2019 until the Spring, 2020. The centre will maintain its regular business hours and all retail units will stay open for the duration.
Jay Newman, Managing Director, South, at McLaren, said: “Royal Tunbridge Wells is attracting a great deal of investment to enhance and improve its public realm and create a better visitor experience. As updated and modernised public areas encourage more people to visit the town centre, we are delighted to be able to bring our retail sector experience to this renovation project at Royal Victoria Place.
“When complete, the works will see an improved shopping experience for local people and visitors to the town. The elements of construction work we are undertaking mean British Land can make the best use of the space, installing up to 17 temporary, flexible kiosks and shopping units alongside experiential, engaging artwork.
“By working with British Land to organise an overnight working schedule, we are minimising the impact to shoppers and retailers, while carrying out vital improvement works. We are extremely excited to start work and continue our great working relationship.”
Nicky Blanchard, centre manager at Royal Victoria Place, said: “We’re so excited to see the start of the renovation works to the main mall areas at Royal Victoria Place. We’ve been working hard to finalise the plans over the past few months and we can’t wait to see the project now take shape, creating a high quality, relaxing and feel-good space for our visitors.”