Work on multi-million pound plans to revamp Inverness’s Eastgate shopping centre has finally begun after numerous delays – and Burger King is one of the new occupants.
Bosses at the centre last year revealed ambitious proposals to reconfigure two existing large units at Falcon Square – and add another 500sq mtr unit at the mall entrance – suitable for four restaurant or bar operators.
Business leaders last night welcomed the start of the work, which will be carried out by local construction firm Compass.
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Negotiations are ongoing with operators for the other units. Previously American chain Smashburger and pizza and pasta specialists Wildwood were linked with the new units, but it is not known if they are still in discussions about coming to the Highland capital.
Centre manager Jackie Cuddy said: “We are delighted to see the works progressing after several enforced delays over the years.
“The market may have changed since we first started out on this journey but we are still optimistic that we can provide a great addition to the night time economy of Inverness with this development.
“Inverness is still very much on the list of major retailers and leisure operators as can be seen from the lettings in 2018 to the likes of Hotel Chocolat, Joules, RBS and the relocation of Fat Face, all of whom reported strong trade over the Christmas period and January.
“The centre’s footfall remained strong throughout this period with over 26,000 people coming through the shopping centre on Boxing Day and December as a whole seeing the same level of shoppers as the previous year.”
Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is really exciting news that work has finally begun, and involving a local construction firm.
“It is good to see this major, positive development get under way in the city centre.”
Thom Macleod, managing director of Compass Building and Construction Services, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as principal contractor for this latest phase of development work at Eastgate Centre.”
They hope to have the newly-formed units ready by late May so they can be fitted out and would work to bring the least disruption to shoppers.
Burger King UK are the first operator to sign up for the development and chief executive Alasdair Murdoch said they were “excited to expand the Burger King brand in Inverness”.
The newly formed units will take in the former Monsoon and Mamas and Papas unit just inside the Falcon entrance.