The mall is located in the centre of the coastal town of Poole. Credit: Alerter Group Ltd.
The planning permission to develop Empire Cinemas in the mall was approved in 2018. Credit: Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The mall reopened its doors to non-essential retailers in June 2020. Credit: Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dolphin Shopping Centre entered a 25-year lease with Empire Cinemas in 2017. Credit: Glenigan Limited.

Dolphin Shopping Centre, a retail destination in Poole, Dorset, UK, is being redeveloped to improve the experience of the visitors to the mall.

The refurbishment programme involves an investment of £26m ($32.47m) in a series of projects, including the planned development of a cinema complex.

Legal & General purchased the shopping centre in 2013 and signed a lease restructuring agreement with the Borough of Poole in June 2017, paving the way for the mall’s renovation, including improvements to the public areas and the opening of new retail stores in 2018.

The shopping centre allowed a phased reopening of non-essential retailers from June 2020 after the UK Government relaxed lockdown restrictions that were imposed to curb coronavirus disease (COVID-19 pandemic).

Dolphin Shopping Centre location

Dolphin Shopping Centre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2019, is located in the heart of Poole town centre, England.

The shopping centre attracts 11 million visitors a year and includes 1,400 car parking spaces. The multi-storey car park at the shopping facility is owned by Borough of Poole Council and underwent upgrades with an investment of £1.5m ($1.9m) from the Council.

Dolphin Shopping Centre design and construction details

The premises of the former Argos store within the Dolphin Shopping Centre will be transformed into a new nine-screen Empire Cinemas complex along with four new restaurants.

The internal cark park decks were renovated with the installation of Triflex line markings in 2017, while internal areas of the mall were upgraded in 2018. The refurbishment of the car park, including concrete repairs to floors, columns and ceilings, and installation of lighting and signage, was completed in 2018.

In addition to mall entrances, the project also involved the redesign of the facades of Falkland Square and Kingland Crescent outside the shopping complex and installation of a new zinc cladding system.

New spacious and modern toilet facilities designed to support the needs of persons with disabilities were added. The toilets provide increased wheelchair accessibility and feature a ceiling track hoist and a height-adjustable changing bench.

The existing escalator was replaced with a new escalator. In January 2020, the mall installed Deaf Alerter system for the safety of deaf visitors.

Retail offerings and restaurants at Dolphin shopping centre

Opened in 1969, Dolphin shopping centre has more than 80 retail units located in 680,000ft² of retail space across three levels.

The shopping centre is anchored by a 27,000ft² H&M store, located across two levels in the space previously occupied by British Home Stores (BHS). Other retailers include Primark, Beales department store, River Island, Marks & Spencer, Next, New Look, Boots, Clark and Pandora.

JD Sports occupied 6,120ft², while Australian stationery and office supplies retailer Smiggle leased 560ft². German shoe retailer Deichmann opened a 5,900ft² store in the Dolphin Shopping Centre in 2017.

Dining options at the mall include cafes, restaurants and bars such as Starbucks, Sprinkles, Delfino Lounge, and Mexican burrito brand Mexigo.

As part of its ongoing sustainability commitment, the shopping centre opened Eco Hub, a creative space with an eco-inspired décor and a learning area, in 2017.

Contractors involved

TP Bennett was selected as the architect for the mall redevelopment programme. Coverdale Barclay was managing stakeholder engagement and industry communications for the renovation project.

Wetheralds won a contract to provide external and internal re-decoration services. Triflex provided Triflex DeckCoat system for the refurbishment of car park decks and connecting ramps, while Potter Raper performed improvements to the internal areas of the shopping centre.