£90m Loan Agreed for Newport’s Friars Walk Complex to be Built
The plan for Newport City Council to borrow funds from the Public Works Loan Board to enable the Friars Walk shopping and leisure complex to be built was overwhelmingly backed by the city’s councillors last night. Newport Council will borrow up to £90 million to loan on to developers Queensberry to cover the full cost of building and fitting out the shopping and leisure complex. This will allow for construction to start around March next year with Friars Walk open for business in November 2015. This will help the scheme meet anchor store Debenhams’ aim to be open by Christmas 2015.
The scheme is for a new modern shopping centre in the heart of Newport City Centre. Friars Walk will offer over 390,000 sq ft (36,230 sqm) of retail and leisure space which includes Debenhams department store, a multiplex cinema, a wide range of shops and restaurants, all supported by a new modern car park and bus station. Other major names like Nandos, Cosmo, Frankie & Benny’s, Prezzo, Chiquito's, Next, Topshop and Cineworld have also committed to the development.
Estimates put building the complex at £65 million, with other items including fit out costs bringing the total to around £85 million. The remainder of the loan could cover potential contingencies. Under the agreement if Queensberry collapsed Newport council would take over the scheme. The council already owns the ground and is giving Queensberry a long lease on a peppercorn rent.