Mall evolution continues as Metrocentre to welcome ophthalmologist
The evolution of UK shopping malls is continuing post-pandemic with news that the Gateshead Metrocentre is to host a community ophthalmologist called Community Eyecare (CHEC).
As of March 2022, the health centre will sit among the location's other tenants that include Allsaints, New Look, Joules, H&M, Fatface, Levi’s, Primark, Zara, Superdry and more.
It’s perhaps partly a sign of how difficult it is to attract new tenants from the fashion sector given the number of major names that have gone under in the past two years while others are looking to keep their store estate expansion plans under tight control.
But it’s also a reflection of a general trend that aims to tun malls into community hubs and generate increased footfall via initiatives such as home and office developments, leisure attractions or essential services, as is the the case here.
The new treatment centre will provide ophthalmology services and relieve pressure on the NHS. Given the huge waiting lists that have built up during the pandemic, that’s a pressing need and one that would see large numbers of people visiting the mall.
Ben Cox of Sovereign Centros, which is the senior asset manager for Metrocentre (formerly run by the failed Intu malls giant), said: “This letting is representative of the strategy to introduce alternative uses, such as medical services, as part of the evolution of our tenant mix. With over 9,000 free car parking spaces, extended opening hours and fantastic connectivity to public transport, Metrocentre is ideally placed to accommodate service uses such as CHEC.”
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