Newport’s eagerly anticipated Friars Walk retail and leisure destination was today opened by the leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Bob Bright, in the presence of the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, and Paul Sargent, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Queensberry Real Estate, the owner and developer. The Rt Revd Richard Pain, Bishop of Monmouth, also welcomed visitors by blessing the new centre.
Paul Sargent, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Queensberry Real Estate said: “The opening of the £117 million Friars Walk development is a major milestone for the city of Newport. It has turned around the retail and leisure offer in the city, while giving a significant boost to the local economy through £90 million of direct investment. Friars Walk has also helped to uplift Newport’s job market through the creation of 1,200 jobs on site worth £15 million in salaries a year. This is already having a positive knock on effect with other occupiers having been attracted back to vacant shop units and new employers taking office space in the city, including Lloyds Bank, Admiral Insurance and the Office of National Statistics.”
As a result of Friars Walk, Newport’s catchment will grow from 211,000 to 367,000 with an estimated footfall of 10-12 million per annum (Source: Javelin/DTZ). This will double retail sales in the city adding £100 million per annum.
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “This fantastic development will breathe new life into the city.
“As well as providing a great array of shops, restaurants and a new cinema, it will also deliver much needed employment, supporting businesses and the community.
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to financially assist Newport City Council in bringing forward this flagship Friars Walk development delivered in partnership with Queensberry Real Estate. The council’s vision in making Friars Walk a reality should be highly commended.
“I’d like to congratulate everyone who’s worked so hard to make Friars Walk a reality. It’s an ambitious and prestigious development worthy of a great city like Newport.”
Delivered by Queensberry Real Estate, Friars Walk was the result of a private-public partnership with a loan provided by Newport City Council. Bob Bright, Leader of Newport City Council added: “This is a momentous day for the city, its residents and businesses. The day we see our vision becoming a reality.
“Friars Walk is an exemplar for partnership working between the public and private sector and it has proved a catalyst for investment in the city centre. We are seeing a renaissance with new and returning businesses opening both in Friars Walk and the wider city centre. These will contribute millions of pounds to the local economy bringing far-reaching benefits for all those who live in, work in and visit Newport for many years to come.”
Following the opening ceremony, four days of action packed entertainment have now begun featuring a combination of dance, music, street theatre and interactive activities. Among the action kicking off today is a daring aerial dance spectacular by Chloe Loftus Dance, where the entire surround of the centre will be used as a stage for a show stopping performance.
Also today, will be live music performances from The Earth, which features members from Super Fury Animals and Catatonia, as well as eight piece party band Supergoose. Other exciting bands across the four days include South Wales’ indie folk roots band, Rusty Shackle, while music fans will not want to miss a performance from Houdini Dax fresh from the 2015 festival season with notable performances at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape and X Festival.
The opening extravaganza includes appearances from Newport County, while Capital FM Street Stars will also be on site on 14 November with a host of exciting prizes including an overnight stay at Celtic Manor Resort, s £500 Debenhams fit voucher with in store make-up demo or afternoon tea and a table for two once a month at Le Bistrot Pierre among other outstanding prizes and on air promotions.
The four day spectacular will take place across Queensberry Real Estate’s 390,000 sq ft retail and leisure destination and has been organised by the owner and developer alongside partners Newport City Council and Newport Live.
Friars Walk has opened to schedule on 12 November with 25 of the stores trading as well as six of the family-friendly restaurants and the eight screen Cineworld multiplex cinema. Welcoming shoppers from 12 November is the 90,000 sq ft full offer Debenhams Department Store as well as the new H&M and Next stores.
Fashion fans will also be able to enjoy the brand new Topshop, New Look and River Island stores among other high street favourites including Mothercare, Schuh, The Body Shop and Pandora. Newport’s dining offer will also see a significant uplift with the opening of Las Iguanas, Nandos, TGI Fridays, GBK and Le Bistrot Pierre on 12 November. For those on the move, Greggs, Coffee #1 and Krispy Kreme will offer more food and drink options.
Christmas opening times for Friars Walk are:
- Shopping: Monday - Friday (9.00am - 8.00pm), Saturday (9.00am - 7.00pm), Sunday & Bank Holiday - 10.00am - 5.00pm
- Dining: Monday - Saturday (9.00am - 11.00pm), Sunday (10.00am - 10.30pm), Bank Holiday (10.00am - 10.30pm)
- Cinema: Monday - Friday (11.00am - 00.30am), Saturday - Sunday (09.30am - 00.30am), Bank Holiday (09.30am - 00.30am)