A wealth of big-name businesses are “queuing up” to be part of a massive Perth regeneration project, developers have revealed.
More than £30 million is being ploughed into the ambitous MillQuarter development, which could bring an extra 300,000 people into the city centre each year and create jobs.
The proposed complex will feature a multilplex cinema, bars, restaurants and a range of shops.
If approved, it will be built over the rundown Thimblerow car park, at the western end of the High Street.
Designers took the wraps off the latest plans for the quarter, which will also have a gym and studentaccommodation.
To address concerns about loss of parking, a multi-storey car park with 200 spaces has also been included.
Nick Robinson of York-based developers Expresso Property said that aplanning application would be submitted in the spring and, if all goes to plan, work could start on site late next year.
The centre could be ready to open its doors as early as 2018.
Nick said: “When we stayed over in Perth, it was clear that the city has some great privately owned restaurants. What we are hoping to do is bring in some branded names as well.
“This is partly because Perth has a real dearth of big-name brands, apart from Pizza Express and Domino’s and maybe a few others.
“But secondly because these brands will be recognisable to the fundinginstitutions which we will need to drive the whole process forward.”
Mr Robinson said: “The main cinema will bring in extra footfall of around 300,000 a year. That will act as our anchor and we can build around it.
“What we’ve tried to do is create a genuine mixed use development which will act as a proper gateway to Perth city centre.
“I know people were worried about the loss of parking, which is why we have included a multi-storey car park which will be more secure (than Thimblerow) and will be available 24 hours-a-day.”
Without naming names, Mr Robinson said several traders had already expressed an interest.
“There are a number of operators for the cinema and restaurants starting to queue up. It’s early doors, but we already have a good number of high quality operators wanting to get on board.
“These will be firmed up as theplanning process goes on.”
Mr Robinson believes that the Mill Quarter by driving up footfall will deliver a wider boost to the Pertheconomy, including existing city centre shops and restaurants.
Designers are looking at ways of linking the development with the surrounding area including a team-up with soon-to-be redeveloped Perth Theatre.