|Development Focus: IntoOutdoors|
Developer – Eagle One
IntoOutdoors is set to be the first retail and lifestyle shopping centre to hit the UK. With an ambition to attract the principle leisure and outdoors brands to its innovative lifestyle and retail concept, IntoOutdoors will provide a significant retail opportunity for target outdoor pursuit, outerwear and lifestyle retailers. The £35 million scheme will consist of 45 retail units which will form the centre piece of the 125 acre site fronting the idyllic River Avon. Surrounding the shopping area will also be fully-functional fishing lakes, bike paths, skating parks, woodland trails, animal paddocks and holiday lodges all set in a beautiful lake side setting on the edge of the Cotswolds. With 42% of the catchment area falling in the Wealthy Achievers Acorn category and with a high penetration of outdoor enthusiasts already living in the region, the site will draw in affluent surrounding residents and large numbers of tourists.
The aim of IntoOutdoors is to deliver an offer that is a truly leisure-based shopping experience for consumers. It has implemented the notion of “Try Before You Buy” which will benefit the consumer as well as giving the retailer the chance to show off their products to the best of their ability, in-turn driving extensive sales. The site lends itself perfectly to the outdoors and gives consumers the chance to test out products hands-on prior to purchase – a unique concept to IntoOutdoors in the UK. Fishing lakes allow shoppers to test out specialist angling equipment, while skate parks and bike routes let consumers’ trial different models of bikes and skateboards before committing to a purchase.
The project is likely to create in the region of 1,000 new jobs, many of which will be available to the local community. These will range from retail jobs to the up-keep of gardens and paddocks, as well as staff for the running of holiday lodges.
Keeping in touch with the local community, the £35 million investment will also provide an extra learning experience for local schools. Adventure play areas and play barns will be situated on the site with classrooms providing the perfect location for school children to learn about farm animals and taking care of pets.
The Leisure aspect will be enhanced further by the installation of 60 holiday lodges. Situated in a tranquil lakeside setting and making for the perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts, tourists and holiday-makers alike, the lodges will have easy access to bike routes and woodland trail trekking routes.
Eagle One has worked closely with Wychavon District Council to create what will be a major retail, leisure and tourist draw to the area. We organised and attended a series of consultation events in order to understand both public and organised groups thoughts on the scheme and these have helped us fully to shape the scheme which is now being delivered. We submitted and achieved a very ‘detailed’ outline planning permission and thereafter secured Reserved Matters consent. The scheme is intended to attract more visitors and investors into the area and via bus, walking, cycling and even boat links to nearby Evesham, it is also hoped that it will also assist with the regeneration of the town.
The scheme will consist of 140,000sq ft of retail space which will also include space for restaurant and cafes, giving the site a relaxed feel. The use of leisure activities, restaurants, cafes and other eateries will entice customers to come to the scheme and spend the whole day there as they’ll be situated directly within the proximity of the retail units. The scheme is in the very first stages of the process. Enabling work began in April with preliminary works taking place including tree-felling and knocking down of existing buildings. The presence of excavators to prepare for the next stages ensures that the site is on schedule to break-ground later this year and to open in Autumn 2014.
Working alongside others the concept for IntoOutdoors was created by a team of people led by Simon Tothill at Eagle One, the property investment company which owns the IntoOutdoors scheme. Despite the existing site having been in Eagle One’s portfolio for 13 years, it was in the last three years that the scheme was conceived through Tothill’s love of outdoor sports and experience as a chartered surveyor. The scheme has taken three years of initial planning, and like any new concept, there are challenges to be faced. The tough economic climate has been a challenge but with the unique ‘try before you buy’ concept and with the site offering a hands-on shopping experience like nothing else in the UK, the scheme will overcome the challenges of the property market to become a hugely successful scheme.
Occupancy and the future
Considering the region already boasts a high penetration of outdoor enthusiasts and is a prime location especially for anglers, the scheme will enable customers from a wide geographical area to visit IntoOutdoors. CACI research has proven that there is high projected catchments spend over £90million per annum, with 3.6 million people located within a 60 minute drive time and 42% of shopper households are in affluent ACORN groups. The scheme is an entirely new proposition for the retail sector; as well as offering a shopping experience and outdoor sports, the holiday destination and the lodges means it will be set in an idyllic location providing the perfect fishing getaway.
The aim of this project is to combine retail and leisure in one scheme. Innovative ‘try before you buy areas’ will make for a completely unique experience for customers while allowing retailers to interact with consumers in a completely different method.