Ashford Designer Outlet Expansion: Less than a year to go

Posted on 17 December 2018

There’s less than a year to go until McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford opens the doors to its much-anticipated £90 million, 100,000 sq ft expansion. While the centre remains open for business as usual, today the team released exclusive footage from behind the hoarding, where significant progress has been made in delivering 50 new premium and luxury brands, restaurants and a range of exciting guest facilities.

Since construction work began back in January, the team has successfully navigated March’s Beast from the East, as well as the UK’s longest heatwave since 1976, to keep the expansion on track to open in Autumn next year.

To date, the project has seen the opening of a new 725 space car park that has improved accessibility to the centre and enhanced the experience for guests traveling by car; the dismantling of the old children’s playground, with the parts donated to nearby Wingham Wildlife Park; the unveiling of designs for a new digitally-enhanced play area, which will feature one the UK’s tallest open space Robinia tree-house tower and slide; the removal of a small portion of the tent to make way for the introduction of 50 globally renowned brands; and the completion of groundworks that pave the way for the new Food Piazza.

With the 12 month countdown on, the centre will be delivering the final features of the expansion throughout 2019. An exciting new ‘Garden of England’ themed playground with Hans Christian Andersen augmented reality play experiences will be introduced first, followed by the opening of the new Food Piazza with delicious dining options, a dedicated events space, a Changing Places facility and Europe’s largest living wall.

Throughout the construction period, the centre remains open to customers, offering year-round savings of up to 60% off. While work on the new Food Piazza is underway, guests are still able to enjoy an extensive range of food and beverage brands, with the likes of Pizza Express, Wagamama, Patisserie Valerie, Lost Sheep Coffee, as well as a variety of food and drink pop-ups, available throughout the centre. A temporary play area opposite Pizza Express has also been set up to keep younger visitors entertained until the new playground arrives.

Christmas has also arrived at the centre, with a 36ft Christmas Tree decorated in over 1,100 metres of energy efficient lights bringing extra festive cheer. A children’s reindeer activity trail and special Father Christmas post office service will be sure to keep the little ones entertained, while exclusive Christmas gifting evenings from 5 - 9pm every Thursday throughout December will help guests land extra special deals on gifting products.

“The footage reveals just how busy our construction partners have been as we work around the clock to deliver a flagship retail destination that not only generates an additional 500 jobs for the community, but improves Ashford’s infrastructure for years to come.”

Peter Corr, Centre Manager of Ashford Designer Outlet

Peter Corr, Centre Manager of Ashford Designer Outlet said: “We’re thrilled that there’s now less than a year to go until we open the doors to our £90 million expansion and offer our customers an even greater selection of the world’s most sought-after brands. Our behind-the-scenes footage reveals just how busy our construction partners have been as we work around the clock to deliver a flagship retail destination that not only generates an additional 500 jobs for the community, but improves Ashford’s infrastructure for years to come. While construction progresses, we’re open as usual and continue to provide a full programme of exciting events and promotions to ensure guests enjoy an exceptional day out when they visit us.”

Standing as one of Ashford’s most iconic buildings since it was developed in 2000, the centre remains Europe’s largest tented retail structure.

Commenting on the design of the new extension, Lucy Flintoff, Associate Director at Chapman Taylor - the architect behind Ashford’s £90 million expansion - said: “We’re very proud to have been involved in the 100,000 sq ft extension of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford. Richard Rogers, the architect behind the centre’s original tented structure, highlighted that the design of the tent allowed for future flexibility, with the retail outlets capable of being easily relocated and reconfigured, as required. The success and popularity of the centre means that its design needed to evolve and, consequently, Chapman Taylor’s architectural design has respectfully removed a small element of the tent to allow the new phase to join seamlessly with the existing centre.”