Insight

intu Watford: the transformation in progress

by Vicki Costello, general manager of intu Watford

At intu Watford we’re undergoing a huge development project which will be over 400,000 sq ft and the 1.4million sq ft retail and leisure destination will host even more great retailers - 16 new shops to be precise, 10 new and exciting restaurants, and leisure activities which include a nine-screen IMAX Cineworld cinema. They’ll definitely be something for everyone to enjoy.

What goes up must come down

We started on site in November 2015 and of course before anything happens the existing site needed to come down. The whole demolition process lasted for four months and the first stage was removing all the benches, litter bins, paving slabs and cycle racks from the area which were sent off to be used elsewhere. The wooden animals, which were a much loved feature of Charter place, have been re-homed and moved to Cassiobury park at the ‘Cha Cha Cha’ Café.

At intu we’re committed to environmental efficiency which whilst does prolong the demolition itself, it does mean that we have a thorough recycling process. Waste taken from the intu Watford site added up to an astonishing 72,000 tonnes. That’s a huge amount of rubble made up of all different materials and we’re pleased to say 67,000 tonnes of that was recycled.

Throughout the demolition phase archaeologists discovered a water tank and a well dating back from between 1700-1750 AD. The new discovery was made on the high street underneath the old Lloyds bank unit and as will be put in our local museum on the lower high street.

The outside, Inside

One of the features I know that I’m looking forward to having is the beautifully designed glass roof which will be partly open, giving the extension a bright and vibrant atmosphere. It’s going to create a great space to host events or just relax and enjoy beautiful clear skies (we can dream!) With the new IMAX cinema, a Hollywood Bowl and new to Watford restaurant names, including Thaikhun and Yo!Sushi to name just two, plus the open roof there’s going to be a great buzz and energy around the whole centre.

intu “steels” Watford’s attention

Monday 23 January 2017 was an exciting day. After months of demolition works, the steel started to be delivered to site to begin the first stages of the build. Over the course of the redevelopment, over 5,000 tonnes of structural steel will be used (6,000 separate pieces). For those who like myself, are not familiar with the build process it is surprising how quickly the structure has taken place. The team at the centre have watched it change over the past year, and it is absolutely amazing to see the detail of the project, and soon the public will also be able to witness the formation of their newly enhanced centre as it begins to grow above the hoarding on the high street.

And, come the end of 2018 they’ll be able to see it and enjoy it for themselves…after all our customer are at the heart of what we do at intu and that’s the reason we’re investing in making Watford a truly compelling day out destination.