The Houndshill Shopping Centre extension will add 76,000ft² (7,107m²) of new commercial floorspace to the shopping centre. Credit: GRAHAM Group.
MMC Cinemas plans to launch a nine-screen complex at the shopping centre. Credit: GRAHAM Group.
The extension is expected to increase the footfall by 1.2 million visitors a year. Credit: Visit Blackpool.

The Houndshill Shopping Centre in Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, is being expanded with an investment of £20m ($27.5m). The shopping mall is owned by Blackpool Council, which acquired it from BCC Eiffel in November 2019.

Approved for funding by Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in October 2020, the latest extension is expected to increase the retail space at the mall while rejuvenating the town centre. LEP is a collaboration of businesses, universities, and local councils formed in 2011 to spur business growth in Lancashire.

Blackpool Council acquired the Tower Street outdoor car park at the shopping centre from property investment and development company Coolsilk in February 2021. The acquisition enabled it to proceed with the expansion project.

The construction of the shopping centre extension project started in September 2021 and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022. It is expected to generate approximately 260 jobs during the construction phase and more than 100 direct and indirect jobs upon completion.

Houndshill Shopping Centre location and details

Houndshill Shopping Centre is located at 17 Victoria Street, opposite Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. It is situated at the heart of the town centre. The nearest railway station to the shopping centre is Blackpool North.

The shopping centre houses major high street brands. It includes more than 65 retail stores ranging from fashion to gadgets. Some of the retailers include JD, Primark, Next, Smiggle, and River Island. Dining options at the mall include Trellis Bistro, Greggs, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffé Nero.

The shopping centre has a wheelchair facility while its first floor has amenities such as ATMs, special toilets for disabled persons, baby changing facilities, and public toilets.

It has a multi-storey car parking facility with 770 parking spaces on Coronation Street. The car park provides spaces for persons with disabilities, and parents with kids. The multi-storey car park building was purchased by the council as part of the shopping centre acquisition in 2019.

Houndshill Shopping Centre extension details

The extension of Houndshill Shopping Centre involves the development of 0.5 acres of brownfield land and 76,500ft² (7,107m²) of new commercial floorspace. It is expected to attract an additional 1.2 million shoppers and visitors to the shopping centre.

The project will add a 40,500ft² (3,762m²) cinema/conferencing and entertainment centre by MMC Cinemas. The 850-seat cinema complex will operate under a 25-year lease agreement with the council. It will feature nine new digital screens, including a giant Premium Large Screen Format (PLF) IMAX-ready central screen.

The flexible seating layout will allow the theatres to serve as a conference venue. A designated incubator space will be created to support local digital and media start-up businesses. A new e-sports cafe will also be added to the shopping centre.

Hardware retailer Wilko will occupy 22,500ft² (2,090m²) of space on the site of the Tower Street car park under a 15-year lease.

Furthermore, the expansion will add 3,760ft² (349m²) of space for two restaurants.

Funding for the extension project

The project secured £5m ($6.84m) in funding from the UK Government’s Covid-19 Getting Building Fund, which was established in 2020 to support the recovery of the UK’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council is expected to source the remaining funds through prudential borrowing.

Contractors involved

The council selected UK-based firm Graham Group for the construction of the shopping centre extension. Real estate services provider CBRE was appointed to provide cost management services for the project.

Covell Matthews Architects provided the design for the extension of the Houndshill Shopping Centre.