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Gravity to transform London department store into £4m retailtainment hub

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southside debehams wansdworth london gravity retailtainment investment

Gravity Active Entertainment are set to transform a former London Debenhams store into a £4 million retailtainment hub. Landsec and Invesco Real Estate have signed an agreement with Gravity to develop an 80,000 square foot entertainment venue in Wandsworth.

Gravity Active Entertainment is set to transform the former Debenhams store at Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth, a joint venture between Landsec and Invesco Real Estate. It’s the first London venue for Gravity and highlights the growing trend towards entertainment filling the gaps left as high street retail outlets fail. The new hub is set to open this summer.

“This will be an exciting new addition to the town centre,” said Cllr Guy Humphries, planning chairman for Wandsworth Council, in a statement. “No one can deny that the loss of Debenhams was a blow but the new use of that space will provide a welcome boost to the town centre’s fortunes by attracting more visitors and shoppers.”

High ropes, indoor go-karting and crazy golf

The four storey complex will include a variety of experiences. The ground floor will include a bar and restaurant plus an electric go-karting track. The mezzanine is set to feature high ropes climbing, bowling, basketball, pool, indoor golf and darts, alongside restaurants, said Wandsworth Council. F&B outlets will include a noodle kitchen, an American-style diner, and a cocktail bar.

Gravity was established in 2014 and has grown into a franchise operation with 11 UK locations. The company plans to expand to over 100 locations throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia by 2022.

concepts like this will be the future of the high street and shopping centres

“We believe concepts like this will be the future of the high street and shopping centres,” said Harvey Jenkinson, co-founder and CEO of Gravity. “This exciting entertainment hub will showcase Gravity’s ability to create venues that cater to a varied audience, which is so immersive they will feel like they could be in a completely different place in the world.”

Gravity Trampoline parks retailtainment

Complementing the existing retailtainment offer

Southside already includes a wide range of retail and F&B outlets – from Waitrose through H&M to Primark. It also has a Cineworld on site. The £4 million investment in the Debenhams site will extend the reach with the hope of attracting both locals and visitors from across London.

“Leisure is an increasingly important component of a complete destination, and Gravity is a significant addition that complements Southside’s existing offer,” said David Heaford, Managing Director, Development, Landsec. “Southside is designed to offer everything the community needs…Gravity’s exciting concept will inspire locals, and draw people from across London, so we are excited to see this prominent site come to life later this year.”

High Street shift to retailtainment

The repurposing of department stores is gathering pace. The Debenhams news follows hard on the heels of the announcement that Flip Out is opening its adventure play ‘super-centre’ in the former BHS store in Aylesbury.

Over 18 million square feet of retail space has become vacant over the last year in the UK. While some will be taken up by creating residential units and offices, it’s also an opportunity for entertainment to move into city centres, reinventing the traditional high street.

a sign of things to come, as the real estate market looks to leisure innovators that can offer something unique for consumers…

“As retail changes, so must shopping and leisure destinations,” said Ed Ginn, Director, Asset Management at Invesco Real Estate. “The signing of Gravity is a sign of things to come, as the real estate market looks to leisure innovators that can offer something unique for consumers as well as its underlying investors”

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