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Guess What Killed This £360M Midlands Retail Scheme?

Aerial view of the 370K SF Realis plans for Unity Walk from 2016

The world looked a very different place in 1999 when plans were first unveilled for a retail redevelopment of Stoke on Trent's bus station and East West shopping precinct. This week, amidst an e-commerce revolution unguessed at 19 years ago, those plans definitively collapsed.

The move comes after developer Realis Estates — which acquired the site for shopping, restaurants, a multi-screen cinema, an 80-bed hotel and parking in 2004 — admitted problems in January after Next pulled out of a 26K SF anchor store.

However, the real death-blow was delivered as far back as 2011 when a 60K SF leisure-themed extension to intu's Potteries shopping centre was announced. By 2015 intu had signed up Cineworld as anchor tenant and persuaded Next to renew its lease taking 28K SF. That spelled the end of Realis' hopes.

Realis will now sell the site after making a "huge loss" measured in millions of pounds, the Stoke Sentinel reported.

The original target date for the completion of construction work on what was revised down into a 370K SF scheme was 2013.

A full blow-by-blow timeline can be found here.

Related Topics: intu, Next, Stoke on Trent, Realis Estates