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Chapman Taylor swoops for £500m Bristol retail spree

Developers last week ditched a proposal by Benoy to redevelop the 1950s Broadmead shopping centre in Bristol and handed the £500 million scheme to Chapman Taylor.

The two architects had been in head-to-head competition for the masterplan until last week when Benoy's client, Hammerson, agreed to co-manage the scheme with Land Securities and picked Land Securities' architect, Chapman Taylor, ahead ofBenoy.

'The Benoy plan is out of the window in general terms, ' said Land Securities project manager Tim Seddon.

The rejection is a blow to Benoy but it is now hoping to pick up commissions for 'one or two' buildings within the masterplan when the developer appoints architects, according to design director Simon Bloor.The developers said that additional 'local, national and international' architects will be appointed to design individual elements of the scheme to 'reflect Bristol's architectural heritage'. Seddon added that parts of the Benoy scheme may still be used where they had won particular approval from the public.

The town centre scheme will be dominated by retail, with a net increase of 32,000 m 2in shopping space. It also includes 280 new homes, three new streets, a major new department store and a 2,000-space car park.Most of the development will take place on existing surface car parks although there will be some demolition involved.

Local architect George Ferguson warned that the scheme might fail unless developers ensure the expansion is well integrated with the remainder of the city centre.

'The only gain will be if the developers take a broader view, ' he said.

The city council approved the selection of the consortium, dubbed the Bristol Alliance, at a special meeting last week.

The consortium is also working on the regeneration of Birmingham city centre. It claims that Bristol is not pulling its weight as a retail centre and says that the expansion is essential for it to provide for its catchment area of 1.5 million people. Bristol is the UK's e i g h t h largest city but is outside the top 15 in terms of its provision of retail. Work is due to start in 2002 and finish by 2006 and the developer will submit a planning application in the middle of next year.

Chapman Taylor's Centre Commercial International - Val d'Europe, a new shopping centre near Disneyland Paris, opens next week. The regional centre includes 75,000m2 of retail and restaurant buildings with a 15,000m2 open-air shopping village. The main buildings are inspired by nineteenth century Parisian architecture by Victor Baltard, Baron Haussmann, Gustav Eiffel and contemporaries.

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