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03.04.2017

New Grafton Attractions ‘will be in double figures’

Shoppers can expect to enjoy an exciting range of new attractions when the refurbished Grafton in Cambridge reopens fully next year.

That is the pledge from the new boss of the four-decade-old centre in the city’s former Kite area.

An £18.5million makeover of The Grafton got underway several months ago, and as the News has reported, owners Legal & General Real Assets are pleased with the progress being made.

Now new centre manager John O’Shea has revealed that the number of new shops and restaurants trading there after the revamp could be ‘in double figures’.

Mr O’Shea is an expert on retailing in the city – before taking charge of The Grafton three weeks ago, he was head of the plush city centre Grand Arcade.

Speaking exclusively to the News, he said he was ‘very excited’ about the future for The Grafton and is confident shoppers will feel the same when they see the changes.

He said: “More than £18million is being spent on features like new flooring, double-height glazed shop fronts and a new roof which will not only allow much more light into the centre, but which will make the annoying roof leaks a thing of the past.

“After we relaunch, in the New Year, nowhere else in the city will be able to provide the combination of shops, restaurants and a cinema which the new Grafton will. It means customers can have a more exciting experience.

“In the face of competition from online retailers, we need to be able to offer something different, as well as click-and-collect.”

The first floor of the centre, where the entrance to the Vue cinema and Bella Italia are, is being remodelled as a new restaurant area and Mr O’Shea said people could expect to see ‘five or six’ new restaurants there.

He said: “On the ground floor, we’re going for a cafe-style experience, with two or more coffee outlets.”

Eden Hall, once home to a number of small, niche shops, will be occupied by two or three new tenants.

Mr O’Shea said: “We are in talks with a number of retailers, some of whom will be new to Cambridge. We’re not able to name names just yet, because those negotiations haven’t been concluded. What people should do is keep in touch with the News, because we’ll be announcing things in the paper and on the News website.

The shopping centre opened in the mid-1980s, but the last major refurbishment was in the 1990s, when a big extension was built.

Mr O’Shea said the new Grafton would continue to have its existing ‘anchor’ tenants, including Boots, Next and Debenhams.

 

New Grafton Attractions ‘will be in double figures’
New Grafton Attractions ‘will be in double figures’