The Houndshill Shopping Centre extension added 76,000ft² (7,107m²) of new commercial floorspace to the shopping centre. Credit: GRAHAM Group.
MMC Cinemas has launched a nine-screen complex at the shopping centre. Credit: GRAHAM Group.
The extension increases the footfall by 1.2 million visitors a year. Credit: Visit Blackpool.
The Phase 2 development project was completed in February 2024. Credit: Graeme Lamb/

The Houndshill Shopping Centre in Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, is owned by Blackpool Council, which acquired it from BCC Eiffel in November 2019. The shopping mall was expanded with an investment of £20m ($27.5m) between 2021 and 2024.

Approved for funding by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in October 2020, the latest Phase II development increased 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 the county.

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 began in September 2021 and was completed in February 2024. It generated 260 jobs during the construction phase and 100 direct and indirect jobs.

Houndshill Shopping Centre location

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

Houndshill Shopping Centre extension details

The Phase II development of Houndshill Shopping Centre involved the development of five acres of brownfield land and 76,500ft² (7,107m²) of new commercial floorspace. It contributes to attracting an additional 1.2 million shoppers and visitors to the shopping centre.

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

British retail, sport and intellectual property group Frasers joined Houndshill Shopping Centre to refurbish the retail precinct in the mall in November 2022. Premium outlets such as Sports Direct and Flannels were opened by Frasers Group.

Blackpool Council and the centre’s management company, Ellandi, have let the former Debenhams store to Frasers Group for lease.

The retail precinct is accessed through the existing mall, while the new restaurants and cinema have a separate entrance via Coronation Street.

Hardware retailer Wilko occupies 22,500ft² of space on the site of the Tower Street car park under a 15-year lease.

The expansion adds 3,760ft² of space for two restaurants.

Backlot Imax Cinema details and features

Situated within the expanded area of the centre, the cinema was launched in March 2024 and features one of the largest IMAX screens in the North West, 10.85m high and 19.87m wide. The IMAX cinema is incorporated with laser technology along with IMAX’s 12-channel sound technology. The new multi-screen development is known as the Backlot Cinema.

The flexible seating layout allows the theatres to serve as a conference venue. A designated incubator space is created to support local digital and media start-up businesses. A new e-sports cafe and The Backlot Diner have also been added to the IMAX Cinema in the shopping centre.

The Backlot, a 100-seat diner, offers freshly made burgers, hotdogs and wings, desserts such as American-style pancakes, sundaes and milkshakes.

The Backlot has been designed to serve as an innovative arts and entertainment hub for both residents and visitors to Blackpool. It aims to become the premier destination for events ranging from corporate conferences and birthday celebrations to comedy nights, live gaming tournaments and community gatherings.

Funding for the extension

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

The council sourced the remaining funds through borrowing.

Existing Houndshill Shopping Centre details

The shopping centre, spanning 320,000ft², houses major high street brands. It includes more than 65 retail stores from fashion to gadgets. Retailers include JD, Primark, Next, Smiggle and River Island.

Dining options at the mall include Trellis Bistro, Greggs, Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero.

The shopping centre has a wheelchair facility, while its first floor has amenities such as ATMs, disabled toilets, 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 prams. The multi-storey car park building was purchased by the council as part of the shopping centre acquisition in 2019.

Contractors involved

The council selected the UK-based company 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.

Sanderson Watts Associates, a civil and structural engineering consultancy, secured the structural engineering work for the Shopping Centre extension. Steelwork for the extension was provided by EvadX, a UK-based contractor.