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The sun always shines in Spain

With no less than 20 leisure attractions, 70 restaurants, extensive parks and gardens, two hotels, even an all-year-round circus, intu’s 235,000 sq m future Costa del Sol resort isn’t being done by halves.

The enormous potential of the millions of sun-seekers who head to the Spanish coast each year, all year round, is a key driver in intu’s plans, and the global resort taking shape at intu Costa del Sol is going to be one of the jewels in the company’s crown.

With development partner Eurofund, intu is working to realise a vision: a vibrant, mixed-use resort with everything a visitor needs. Leisure, dining, hotels, bars, places to relax and unwind, plenty of activities for people of all ages, and fantastic holiday shopping, all in one place. The quality of the environment will be exceptional with eight different neighbourhoods, each with
its own character, appeal and offer.

Martin Breeden, development director, explains. “The concept at intu Costa del Sol is to develop a world-class retail-based resort with a heavy leisure component, hotels, and outstanding public realm space. “The level of guest services will be international 5-star hotel class. It will be one of the many reasons to visit intu Costa del Sol.”

By developing a resort that is based around tourism and leisure, the team is creating a unique destination. Even on holiday, visitors have become increasingly exacting and need to be given more reasons to visit the shops than ever before.

Cue the plethora of uses planned for the intu Costa del Sol resort, and, says Breeden, some surprise details to keep people enthralled. He says: “Every vista has been thought about. One of the unique selling points is the location, it gets an average of 320 days of sun a year and it’s exactly where you’d want to build such a thing. It’s in a perfect spot, with the confluence of the airport, the beach and the hotels. It’s a fantastic waterside location, with a very distinctive look and feel. “It’s a major leisure and catering complex, we’ve integrated the hotel with a gourmet market, sports concepts, and retail stores.”

Consent has been granted, and intu is now busy in the pre-leasing stage, talking to Spanish, European and international brands as well as local independents, all of whom are showing considerable interest.


The concept at Costa del Sol is to develop world-class retail-based resorts with a heavy leisure component, hotels, and public realm space.

Martin Breeden
development director, intu

And while back in the UK, we don’t have the Atlantic vistas of the Costa del Sol, the same guiding principle – of curating a place that appeals to a wide range of lifestyles and demands – applies. And it’s this principle which is driving some of intu’s UK redevelopment and regeneration projects.

Such as the £75 million works taking place at Barton Square, at intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, where 110,000 sq ft of new retail space designed to the same high standard as the centre is being added – including a major new two-storey Primark store – complemented by a grand new glass-domed roof and public realm space.

In Nottingham a major revamp of the intu Broadmarsh centre is a key element of one of the most important and wide-reaching regeneration projects anywhere in the UK. While the urban space around it is transformed with new city streets, transport facilities, office, academic, and retail developments, internally the centre is undergoing a significant redevelopment and refurbishment with leisure in mind.

By the time new cinema The Light and ten-pin bowling alley Hollywood Bowl are in place, intu Broadmarsh (pictured below) will be home to the largest proportion of leisure space of any centre in the company’s portfolio.

What’s true in Nottingham and Manchester is true on the sunny Costa del Sol: the retail property model has changed. Gone is the traditional format, of anchor stores and medium and smaller retail units, complemented by some food and leisure – often as an afterthought. As Breeden says: “People want experience-led visits. We’re looking to effectively break down the department store anchor model.”

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