Robert Hitchins Ltd, a prominent regional property developer, has officially announced the appointment of Bouygues UK Ltd as the chief contractor for the initial phase of the Cotswolds Designer Outlet in Tewkesbury. This marks the beginning of a project that will offer 136,000 square feet of retail and food & beverage (F&B) space, accommodating 56 new brands. The construction is slated to begin in November 2023, with the grand opening planned for Spring 2025.
The Cotswolds Designer Outlet project is financially backed by Robert Hitchins and will be executed in two phases. Upon completion, the outlet will span 185,000 square feet and feature over 90 high-end fashion, lifestyle, and F&B brands.
Strategically situated at Junction 9 of the M5 motorway, the outlet aims to serve a broad catchment area between Bristol and Birmingham. It will also attract tourists visiting the Cotswolds, given its proximity to the historic town of Tewkesbury.
The outlet is a cornerstone of Robert Hitchins’ ambitious, mixed-use development plan that spans a 300-acre site. This comprehensive project includes retail, F&B, leisure facilities, community play areas, and new residential developments.
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Several key components of this grand vision have already come to fruition. Notably, a 74,000 square foot Dobbies Garden Centre, which also houses a Waitrose Foodhall, café, and restaurant, has been operational since late 2022 and is exceeding performance expectations. Significant infrastructure improvements have also been made to facilitate this expansive project. Additionally, 1,310 new homes are currently under construction, courtesy of Persimmon, Charles Church, and Barratt Homes.
Simon Tothill, Property & Development Director at Robert Hitchins, stated, “Cotswolds Designer Outlet has the potential to make a meaningful, lasting contribution to the region’s growth; the combination of a strong location, thoughtful design and a hugely positive response from leading brands, has us highly optimistic for its future success. We’ve made significant headway in delivering our long-term vision for this location, having invested £20 million in crucial infrastructure and connectivity, and completed on the fantastic, and incredibly popular, Dobbies Garden centre, we are now looking forward to the next stage of the programme.”
John Boughton, Bouygues UK’s Managing Director for the South West and Wales, commented, “We can’t wait to get started on this project for Robert Hitchins, bringing both economic and social value to the area with an exciting new retail outlet and brand new facilities, set in stunning landscaped surroundings. As always, we are looking forward to involving the local community as much as possible, working with our local supply chain partners and employing a high percentage of local labour. We’ll be using innovative digital solutions including building information management (BIM) throughout the project, to ensure a high quality, efficient and collaborative delivery.”
Realm, a leading outlet retail specialist, will manage the leasing and asset management upon the project’s completion. Dan Mason, Managing Director of Realm, noted, “Outlet shopping continues to attract shoppers and tourists looking for a unique ‘full day out’, where they can combine quality and value, with an enhanced customer experience and the excitement of discovering unexpected treasures. That’s the enduring appeal of the outlet experience, and why retailers continue to incorporate outlet into their multi-channel strategies.”
The architectural design, crafted by Roberts Limbrick, takes inspiration from the local Cotswolds style, blending modern and traditional elements.