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Beijing Comes To Wigan As Chinese Group Grabs A Share Of Everything

Grand Arcades, Wigan, as it will look post-rethink.

Mark McNamee’s Cityheart and Chinese group Beijing Construction Engineering Group International, or BCEGI, have been appointed as the strategic development partners for the £130M redevelopment of the 440K SF Galleries Shopping Centre in Wigan.

The rethink involves a beefed-up leisure offer, including an esports venue, bowling alley, miniature golf and six-screen cinema, along with a hotel and 464 apartments. 

Wigan Council, Cityheart and BCEGI have yet to agree on the final details of the development but said construction is likely to begin in early 2022 with an anticipated completion date of 2025. 

The move helps answer the increasingly urgent question of what to do with surplus-to-requirements shopping centres. Last month MCR Property took the unusual step of deciding to shutter Rochdale’s 164K SF Wheatsheaf Centre, one of the first landlords in the UK to do so.

The announcement also represents a further advance in Greater Manchester for BCEGI. The expansionist business is already dug into schemes in the city of Manchester, Salford and Bolton.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the capital value of the schemes with which it is involved was north of £3B.

It is also bidding for a share of the £1.5B ID:Manchester development on the former UMIST campus and a role in Stockport town centre’s residential regeneration.