It is also anticipated that there will be significant changes to the retailer line up over the next 12 months, with the hope of increasing footfall.Work has already begun to transform the outside area at St John’s Square, between Festival Place and The Malls, which involves replacing dated facades and relocating the main entrance as part of a 6million project.AEW revealed some of its plans, including a rebrand of the shopping centre, in a private presentation, but the document was sent to staff working in Basing View from the borough council.AEW said the document, which The Gazette has seen, contains confidential information regarding big brand restaurants it is in talks with to move into Festival Place.The Gazette has decided not to publish the names of these chain restaurants until AEW has secured agreements, as it could jeopardise contracts being signed.AEW declined to reveal the cost of the rejuvenation project, which will involve expanding and improving Festival Square by creating a new restaurant on the upper level.It is hoped that the transformation will encourage existing tennants to refresh their units.The restaurant area has already benefited from improvements made by some of the occupants, including a refurbishment at Giraffe and an expansion of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), as well as the opening of Las Iguanas.The car parks will also be improved as part of the plans, to enhance their quality and efficiency.The rejuvenation will include the launch of a new flagship Next store, due to open in January 2017.As previously reported in The Gazette, AEW secured the letting of the former 48,000 sq ft BHS unit earlier this year, in a transaction representing the biggest lease in terms of both size and value to take place in the shopping centre in the past 10 years.AEW hopes that the improvements to Festival Place, which has a footfall of more than 20 million visitors each year, will enhance the long term performance of the centre.Russell Jewell, head of private equity funds for AEW in Europe, said: “We are looking at a number of major, long term initiatives to enhance all parts of the centre.”Securing a landmark letting to Next earlier this year has created real momentum and we’re in talks with several new brands interested in taking space at Festival Place. We will make further announcements in the near future.”Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s executive director of borough services, Laura Taylor fondant tools, said: “There’s a great deal of exciting development happening in the town centre area and we were delighted to receive a presentation from AEW at a recent Basing View Occupiers’ Forum where they presented an insight into their aspirations for Festival Place.There’s a lot of talk about restaurants in this article. I look forward to having more of the smaller retail shops, you know the ones that actually sell stuff we want.It’s good to see arrangements will be made for parking but will this be an excuse to raise more money, no mention of free parking?Having seen the demise of many shops in Festival Place, often disguised by covering shop fronts with images of shops, I’d like to think these changes will lead to a better future for BasingstokeThere’s a lot of talk about restaurants in this article.
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