Work has started on the £35m expansion of Swindon’s Designer Outlet centre, creating an estimated 350 jobs and adding 50,000 sq ft of retail space.
The scheme, which received planning approval a year ago, will add a further 30 store units to the centre, taking the total to around 120 covering 250,000 sq ft of retail space.
The centre, which opened in 1997 on a large part of Swindon's former rail works, now employs around 750 people and last year attracted more than 3.5m shoppers. It is owned by McArthurGlen, Europe’s leading designer outlet specialist, and houses leading brands such as Hugo Boss, Jaeger, LK Bennett, Next, Superdry, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger.
Stores typically offer heavily-discounted end-of-line products.
The expansion will also give a new lease of life to one of the former rail work’s historic buildings – the Long Shop, which was built in 1874 and is part of the Grade II-listed Great Western Railway Works.
The Long Shop, opposite the STEAM railway museum, will now be incorporated as part of the extension of Swindon Designer Outlet.
The first phase of the development will include a redesigned food quarter, as well as introducing four new restaurants to the centre. There will also be a specially-designed events space.
Some 2.7m people live within one-hour's drive of the centre.