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Posted by bender 03/01/2009 @ 21:02

Tags : shopping, leisure, fashion, entertainment

News headlines
Shopping lessons: Tips for heading back to school on a budget - Atlanta Journal Constitution
By Nedra Rhone Back-to-school shopping on a budget has always been the rule, but this year, money matters more than ever. In a recent online survey conducted by Lands' End, more than three-quarters of moms said their school shopping budgets would be...
Action Line: Questions and answers about shopping rules - San Jose Mercury News
The theme was shopping rules: Q If product in a store is marked down but does not say "as is" and a part is missing or damaged, is it unreasonable to expect the item to be intact and in working condition? A No, Mee246. Do you have a case in mind?...
Huge shopping plaza, with Target as anchor, is changing the landscape - Boston Globe
Crews work at the Washington Street Shopping Center in Hanover, whose primary tenant will be a Target store. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff) By Emily Sweeney Setting its sights on rapidly growing Hanover and nearby towns along Route 53, Minneapolis-based...
Construction starts on Fort Worth shopping center - Dallas Morning News
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News Developers are about to begin construction on a new shopping center in North Fort Worth that's part of the 300-acre Presidio Junction development at North Tarrant Parkway and Interstate 35 W. More than 1 million...
Retirement officials: No doctor shopping here - Enterprise News
The 38 applications were initially approved by 35 different doctors, leading public employee retirement boards in those two communities to write in separate letters that “clearly there is no doctor shopping happening.” Three of the doctors who said...
Burst Media Research Reveals Back-to-School Shopping Habits - SYS-CON Media (press release), a leading provider of advertising representation, services and technology to independent Web Publishers, today released the results of a survey on back-to-school shopping habits. The survey, which was administered to more than 2100...
Shopping for shoes on the 50-yard line - Atlanta Journal Constitution
So they arrange to go shoe shopping together. It's an all-day outing during Manhattan's Fashion Week, with an expensive lunch in between designer sample sales. That night they pay premium prices to attend a sold-out quilt show....
Food shopping: Ring on 'fun' - Philadelphia Inquirer
Fresh Market would like to transform the dreaded chore of food shopping into a relaxing and enjoyable activity. They have designed the store from the wood floors below to the imaginative scenes above - a charming country garden, an inviting and cozy...
Trade Smoove? Not cool Stop shopping Smoove - Atlanta Journal Constitution
So why are the Hawks, if the rumors are to be believed, shopping Smoove? Beats me. How many power forwards could you plug in for Smith and render the Hawks better overnight? David West of New Orleans? Maybe, and that's a big “maybe....

MetroCentre (shopping centre)


MetroCentre is a shopping centre in the United Kingdom. It holds the title of largest shopping centre in the European Union. Located in Gateshead on a former industrial site, close to the River Tyne, MetroCentre opened on 14 October 1986 and has around 342 shops occupying 1.68,900 m2 (1.818 million square feet) of retail floor space. Additional retail space is available in the adjoining retail park which houses larger shops.

MetroCentre's construction was financed by the Church of England Commissioners, and was masterminded by Sir John Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments, the ground upon which it is built was purchased for a mere £100,000 in the early '70s. In October 1995, the centre was sold to Capital Shopping Centres for £364m, although the Church Commissioners retained a 10% stake.

Reflecting its Church of England origins, the MetroCentre is one of the few European shopping centres to have its own chapel and resident full-time chaplain. Services are held on Sunday afternoons, with special services on occasions such as Mothering Sunday and Remembrance Sunday.

The MetroCentre has four malls; red, green, blue and yellow. It also has themed shopping areas; The Village, The Forum, and The Studio, formerly known as the Mediterranean Village, and houses many restaurants and cafes. The first mall of the MetroCentre was built in 1986 - the red mall. At the time it featured a large Carrefour store, which later became Gateway and subsequently Asda. an the 1990s, Asda moved from the MetroCentre to a larger stand-alone store nearby, facilitating the redevelopment of the Red Mall.

ASDA's move out of the main centre was planned so that the unit could be demolished to make way for an extension and refurbishment of the Red Mall. The new Red Mall extension (including a number of new shops, such as a Debenhams department store) opened on 6 October 2004. A consequence of the expansion was that Metrocentre regained the crown of Europe's largest shopping centre that it had lost to Bluewater in 1999. However a year later, with the opening of the Cevahir Mall in Istanbul, Turkey, the MetroCentre was moved down to being only the largest shopping centre within the European Union.

The refurbishment programme also included a new Transport Interchange at the end of the Blue Mall. It replaced the old bus station and is intended to provide improved bus links to many parts of North East England, and accommodate coach services from elsewhere in the UK. The new interchange features electronic display boards and a new waiting room at the MetroCentre railway station. The MetroCentre is not directly connected to the Tyne & Wear Metro System though regular bus shuttle services provide connections to Monument, Central Station, and Gateshead Metro stations (see Transport Links below).

On 30 November 2006, centre owner Capital Shopping Centres announced plans to redevelop the centre's Blue and Yellow Malls. Metroland is now closed and the area is now boarded up with display boards announcing 'The New Yellow Mall', which will feature a brand new Odeon cinema (re-located from the Blue Mall), a family entertainment centre (including a new bowling alley) and an assortment of restaurants and other retail units. The current Blue Mall will be re-developed and used as additional retail space. The outside of the Yellow Mall is also being refurbished using clad zinc and glass to distinguish it as the entertainment part of the centre.

Many large retail chains are represented in the centre, such as Marks & Spencer (their first out of town store), House of Fraser, Debenhams, Argos, HMV, W H Smith, Jessops, Boots, Carphone Warehouse, Modelzone and Lush. There are also numerous places to eat and drink, with a recently redeveloped area containing bars and restaurants providing an alternative to the McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Wetherspoons elsewhere in the centre.

In addition to the former Metroland, the centre's leisure facilities include an 11-screen Odeon cinema and a bowling alley currently closed for redevelopment and due to open in November 2009.

The Metro Retail Park is situated to the west of the MetroCentre. It has the layout of a conventional out of town retail park, with large stores such as Barker and Stonehouse, Toys R Us and Pets at Home. McDonald's and Pizza Hut are both situated to the south of the Retail Park site (in addition to other sites for both restuarants in the MetroCentre itself). To the North of the retail park there is Gala Bingo. Until August 2007 the retail park was not actually under the ownership of MetroCentre Partnership; it was purchased for £82.5 million.

West of the Metro Retail Park is an area often referred to as "MetroPark West". This area is not owned or controlled by the MetroCentre. Stores trading in this area include the ASDA Supercentre, IKEA and DFS.

Allison Court is to the South of the MetroCentre and Metro Retail Park, next to the A1. Situated here are stores such as Maplin, The Bed Shed and a bank (Beneficial Finance).

The area is well served by hotels. Between Allison Court and the Metro Retail Park is the Mariott. Near "MetroPark West" is the Holiday Inn Express and Travelodge, and in Derwenthaugh to the west is Premier Inn, also a Taybarns restaurant.

The MetroCentre's transport interchange has a large bus to the Tyne and Wear Metro. It is connected to Gateshead metro station by the X66 bus service and to Newcastle Central metro station by the heavy rail services to Newcastle railway station.

MetroCentre railway station is on the Tyne Valley Line, which provides regular services to Newcastle Central station, Sunderland Central, Carlisle, Middlesbrough and Northumberland, with a twice daily service to Stranraer in south west Scotland, via Dumfries.

The MetroCentre has its own junction on the A1 road and northbound this road was widened to three lanes after the MetroCentre was built to cope with increased traffic levels. Even so the centre is responsible for many journeys onto the A1 and there is often significant congestion at peak times.

National and international visitors can reach the centre via air using Newcastle Airport. Alternatively, it is possible to travel by ferry to North Shields from Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

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Lakeside Shopping Centre

'The Boardwalk' under construction in early September 2006, showing the new bridge to the main shopping centre and the old 'Lakeside Pavilion' building.

The Lakeside Shopping Centre is a large out-of-town shopping centre located in West Thurrock, in the borough of Thurrock, Essex just beyond the eastern boundary of Greater London. It opened on October 25, 1990.

The shopping centre, in addition to the retail parks, forms one of the largest shopping areas in a single location within Europe, with almost 2,600,000 square feet (240,000 m2) of retail space on a site of 200 acres (0.81 km2). The community of Chafford Hundred has grown to the east of the centre since its opening. Its main rival is the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent just across the River Thames.

The shopping centre is one of the largest in Europe with 123,644 m² (1,330,936 ft²) available as retail floorspace although the MetroCentre in Gateshead, after its expansion in 2004, is larger. There are 228 shops, of which there are 3 department stores, 33 cafes and restaurants and a 26-acre (110,000 m2) lake named Alexandra Lake with a PADI certified diving school complex. Lakeside has on average 500,000 visitors per week.

It is currently open on weekdays from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. The centre's car parks have capacity for 13,000 cars.

The centre has a direct link to Chafford Hundred railway station and is connected to the M25 motorway which is London's outermost ring road, as well as to the A13 road which connects central and east London to Basildon and Southend-on-Sea. It is connected to the London Bus network by London Buses routes 370 and 372 with other operators such as Arriva, Ensign Bus and First Essex also providing bus services to the centre. In 2007 London Transport announced that Zone 6 rates would be applied to routes 370 and 372 for all stops up to and including Lakeside (the zone had previously ended at Wennington, with an additional fare required to complete journeys to Lakeside).

To ensure the centre maintains its competition with the newer (and what is perceived by some as more 'upmarket') Bluewater shopping centre, which lies just over the Thames in Greenhithe, Lakeside has recently undergone major refurbishment at a cost of £30 million. This included new Italian porcelain flooring, new lighting, a new ceiling and new glass roofs which allow much more natural light into the shopping centre. There are now also new, faster lifts, and 4 more escalators along with automatic entrance doors. A non-smoking policy across the whole shopping centre was also introduced in January 2004. The refurbishment has also encouraged refitting of many shops so that they complement the new surroundings. In September 2005, Next opened an 18,600 sq ft (1,730 m2). extension to their store.

The Lakeside Pavilion was an area adjoined to the main shopping centre via a covered bridge - this area had a 'market' feel to it, with various stalls selling novelty gifts, paintings and collector items adjacent to a small food court. By the beginning of 2006 this had been closed and partly removed for the construction of a new entertainment area named ‘The Boardwalk’.

Re-opened on Thursday June 14, 2007, The Boardwalk provides an additional 59,000 sq ft (5,500 m2). of retail space for 10 new restaurants along with more retail and leisure space, as well as a 10 metre boardwalk, offering external seating which overlooks Alexandra Lake. The newly refurbished Old Orleans bar and restaurant was open on the same day, with new features including a rooftop bar.

Vue cinema formed part of the old Lakeside Pavilion, with a 7 screen cinema. This closed on 11 January 2007 to be refurbished, and was re-opened on Friday June 15, 2007; the refurbishment resulted in 9 state of the art screens with stadium seating, including a premium "Gold Class" screen housing luxury reclinable armchair-style seating, and a special screen that would show major sporting, music and gaming events as well as key films. This 'Evolution Screen', with a combination of giant bean bag chairs and sofas, is the first of its kind in the UK.

Apple opened its tenth UK store at Lakeside Shopping Centre.

Marks & Spencer, one of the centre's 4 anchor stores, applied for planning permission in July 2008 to allow construction of a 23,970 sq ft (2,230 m2) third storey extension to their store, in addition to an extensive refurbishment of the store layout and customer facilities. The application was approved at the end of October 2008 although it is unknown when construction will begin.

In 1998, Lakesiders was a BBC docusoap narrated by Pauline Quirke following the activities of management, shopkeepers and staff of the shopping centre. The fractious working relationship between Essex FM's breakfast show DJ Martin Day and his boss Paul Chantler also featured. The theme music was by Simon May. A new series, Return to Lakesiders, was filmed by the BBC in 2007 and was broadcast on BBC Two 18-22 August 2008.

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Merry Hill Shopping Centre

One of the main entrances at Merry Hill with statue of John Northwood.

The Merry Hill Shopping Centre is a shopping centre in Brierley Hill near Dudley, West Midlands, England. It was built by Rajesh Pullan. The first businesses moved into the complex in 1985 and the original centre was fully occupied by 1989. Several expansion projects have taken place since then. Originally the centre was owned by the original developers, Richardson Developments, but it has seen a number of other owners, including Chelsfield and Mountleigh. Its current owners are the Australian Westfield Group and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). The centre has around 310 stores and a total retail floorspace of 148,000m² (1.593m ft²), making the centre the fourth largest in the United Kingdom, behind the MetroCentre, Bluewater and Westfield London.

Merry Hill is home to a Odeon cinema and a number of larger shops such as Primark, Next, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams. Adjacent to the main shopping site is The Waterfront, which accommodates offices for Virgin Media and HM Revenue and Customs amongst others, and has a marina area providing space for a number of bars and restaurants.

The Dudley No.1 Canal passes though the adjacent Waterfront site and high above the the edge of the shopping centre, before descending Delph Locks.

There was an elevated monorail in operation at Merry Hill from 1991, but this closed in 1996 as a result of a combination of technical problems and safety concerns (especially the difficulty of evacuation), exacerbated by a dispute between the owners of Merry Hill and The Waterfront which at this time were owned separately. The infrastructure was later removed, leaving only one disused monorail station and part of the old railings visible—on top of the Marks and Spencer store roof.

The monorail originally cost £22 million and was designed to transport shoppers to and from a car-parking area. The system was officially opened on 1 June 1991. The actual opening to the public was delayed by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate investigating evacuation procedures. After operating for a short while, the monorail was temporarily closed again in 1992, but ran sporadically until 1995.

The cars were manufactured by Von Roll (later Adtranz, then Bombardier) to their Mk III Series specification; each carrying up to 70 passengers and providing a throughput of 1,800 passengers per hour per direction. The track was a combination of single- and double-track (single- and double-beam) connected with rotary switches (points) with running on the left-hand side of the doubled section.

After the system was put up for sale in 1996, the trains and track were transferred in 2001 to the Oasis Shopping Centre, in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, to enable expansion of its own monorail system.

AMC Cinemas opened a cinema at Merry Hill in 1988 which subsequently changed to a UCI Cinemas location when the AMC pulled out of the UK in 1990. It also incorporates an amusement arcade and was refurbished in 2006 following a merger with the Odeon cinema chain. There are 10 screens at the cinema, which was the first multiplex cinema in the Dudley borough and the first new one to have been built for some 50 years.

In almost 20 years since Merry Hill cinema was built, just one other new cinema has been built in the Dudley borough - a Showcase cinema at Castle Gate, four miles away, in 2001.

On 9 October 1988, Merry Hill staged the first drive-in film in the entire West Midlands, when E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was shown on the centre's extensive car parks.

In the 1980s, the Government created a number of Enterprise Zones which gave incentives to firms wishing to set up business in areas which had been affected by a downturn in the manufacturing industry. The Brierley Hill area had suffered the loss of the Round Oak Steelworks, and it was hoped that other manufacturers could be encouraged to move into the area. Incentives included relaxed planning rules and a ten-year period exempt from business rates. Developers saw the opportunity to take advantage of lack of restrictions by making a shopping centre, rather than industrial units originally envisaged as the mainstay of the Enterprise Zone.

The Enterprise Zone encompassed both the former steelworks site and a large open green space known as Merry Hill Farm. This was cherished locally as a haven for wildlife. In 1982, the site was bought by Richardson Developments with the intention of constructing a large shopping centre. There was much hostility when building of the first phase of the shopping centre commenced on the green space, rather than on the former steelworks site. Despite protests from local citizens the site was destroyed, and the first retailers moved onto the site in 1985 when the MFI building was completed. In 1986, the shopping malls and more retail stores were added and the same was done in Phase 3 in 1987. In 1988, a 10-screen cinema was completed at the shopping centre. Phase 5, which included upgrading the malls and adding further stores, was completed in 1989 and in the following year, the shopping centre was sold to Mountleigh. The steelworks site was not built on till later stages of the Merry Hill/Waterfront Project. The Waterfront section, which consisted of Phases 6-8, was constructed between 1989 and 1995. Phase 6 saw the construction of 69,700 square metres (750,245 sq ft) of offices, Phase 7 saw the construction of 6,500 square metres (69,965 sq ft) of restaurants and bars and Phase 8 saw the addition of a 15,800 square metres (170,070 sq ft) business park. Merry Hill had brought about the first free-standing Pizza Hut in the UK, the first drive-in McDonald's restaurant and the largest Texas Homecare store.

This is still an issue of contention: in a real-life retcon histories often merely state that the centre was built on the steelworks, and omit mention of Merry Hill Farm; photographs are cropped to show only the steelworks. Planning consent had been granted by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, some time before the closure of Round Oak Steelworks in December 1982, for the land of the farm to be used for the tipping of steelworks waste and the perimeter of the site had been landscaped with embankments and tree planting to mask the tipping from neighbouring housing. Levelling of the site for the first phase of building not only destroyed the farm, which would soon have been covered by waste in any case, but also removed the new landscaping and threatened the stability of the canal embankment on the hillside above the site. This resulted in the closure of the Dudley Canal to traffic for several years.

When the Merry Hill Centre opened, a number of large retail chains decided to move their stores from surrounding towns into the new shopping centre. These included Marks & Spencer, C&A (C&A closed in early 2001) and Littlewoods (which closed down around the same time as C&A in Merry Hill). These left a number of large empty premises behind, which in turn meant many shoppers abandoned town centres for the Merry Hill Centre, which led to a large downturn in trade for those shops remained, affecting their viability. Most affected was Dudley, the largest nearby town, whilst Halesowen and Stourbridge were also hit.

A further blow came when the local council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough, announced that it was bringing in parking charges throughout its area; this turned more shoppers away from local towns, and towards the Merry Hill Centre, where parking remains free.

Dudley Council have nonetheless announced large increases in car parking charges in the rest of the Borough, including Brierley Hill where some charges have increased by over 100%, resulting in conuing rumours that parking charges may be soon introduced at the Merry Hill centre.

After twenty years, local towns have still not been able to compete with the centre, and have become increasingly run-down, though schemes to improve things are occasionally mooted.

The Merry Hill Centre continues to draw most of its trade from local towns. The developers did plan that the Centre would attract visitors from across the country. Coach parks have now had apartments and houses built on them.

The owners and local council leaders have stated their aim to better connect and integrate Merry Hill with the traditional town centre of Brierley Hill. To this end, the Dudley Canal has been re-routed, and a number of new flats and houses have been built around the site, with more expected to follow. A new line of the Midland Metro tram system will reach the site in 2011. A new Primark store opened on 4 May 2007. The newest multi-storey car park at Merry Hill has also been given a high rating by the AA, which means it is one of the best car parks in the United Kingdom. Sainsbury's has had a refit in early 2006 which includes a pharmacy. ASDA and HMV were both refitted in 2007. There is an Apple Store opening soon in February.

In addition, the cinema near to multi-storey car park has recently received a major rebrand into an Odeon cinema. The refit, costing over £1 million, has seen the inside of the cinema completely modernised throughout, with brand new seating in all auditoriums.

It is also planned by summer 2010 that a replacement cinema (16-20 screens) will be built on the vacant land behind the existing cinema, along with the construction of numerous other leisure facilities including a bowling alley, comedy club, outdoor performing area, many restaurants and bars and a proposed casino. This "leisure plateau" will begin the integration of Brierley Hill Town Centre with the Merry Hill Shopping Centre offering a direct walk-way between and a Metro link. The entertainment area will be in a newly created public square. Further expansion is expected along the entire canal to turn it into an entertainment district that may even rival city locations. The redevelopment of the centre is intended to achieve high levels of 'green' efficiency, with Merry Hill being the first retail development in the country to be awarded BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) accreditation.

Many local factories and establishments are rumoured to be closing down/relocating (including Link 51, the KFC, all factories Brierley Hill-side of canal) to make way for more modern apartments, multi-story car parks and businesses.

Merry Hill has been served by a bus station since about 1986, which gives a direct connections to towns including Dudley, Halesowen, Stourbridge, West Bromwich and Cradley Heath, as well as the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Similarly, the bus services connect the centre to Cradley Heath railway station, for local services to Birmingham Snow Hill and Kidderminster via Stourbridge Junction.

The Merry Hill Centre will receive a light-rail link around 2011 or 2012 when the second phase of the Midland Metro is completed. It will terminate a short distance south of the centre in Brierley Hill town centre, and will give direct light-rail links to the towns of Dudley, Tipton and Wednesbury. The final phase of the line will run on a new route around the edge of Merry Hill, though most of the rest of it will make use of the South Staffordshire Line trackbed.

As soon as Merry Hill was first built, there were calls for a heavy rail link to be provided - the nearby line had been void of passenger trains since the mid-1960s. Railtrack announced proposals to reinstate passenger services on the South Staffordshire Line in 1997, but these have since been abandoned.

In February 2008 at the green car park, a stabbing occurred. This caused major disruption in Merry Hill, while the largest car park, the multi storey, was closed for the investigation. The victim survived, however, no one has been charged with the stabbing. As a result of the incident, security at the centre has been improved, with guards being located at nearly all exits in the centre.

Working at Merry Hill gave Catherine O'Flynn the inspiration for the fictional Green Oaks centre, the main location in her successful novel What Was Lost.

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Source : Wikipedia