IT’S been a year since the devastating fire at Douglas Village Shopping Centre’s car park and, despite the additional setback posed by Covid-19, the centre is now “on course” to reopen before the end of the year.
Speaking to The Echo, shopping centre manager Bartosz Mieszala said he is optimistic that the centre can reopen on November 12.
“Our initial date [to reopen] was around now, but that was before the lockdown.
“After the lockdown, when we were allowed back on site in May, the new date became November 12, and we’re on course to meet that.
“We got slightly delayed but luckily not as long as we were afraid it could be.
“It’s still good timing and just in time for the Christmas rush and everything, so we’re really looking forward to that,” he said.
Whilst the return of the centre’s three anchor stores, Tesco, TK Maxx and M&S is assured, Mr Mieszala said the centre has lost several retailers.
“As a result of the pandemic, we have lost a few tenants. There is a handful of them but, as a core, on November 12 we will be reopening with our three anchors, Tesco, M&S and TK Maxx,” he said.
“We are still working with the smaller-sized operators to see if and how we can help them to open on time.
“Covid has had a huge impact on a lot of businesses — in particular retail.
“The plan is to get as many of the stores open as possible for that date,” he said.
Mr Mieszala said the centre is being renovated with new tiling to give it a fresh look for November 12.
As a safety precaution, the car park has also been fitted with a sprinkler system.
“We have decided to install a sprinkler system within the car park.
“It’s still not a requirement, however, we wanted to show commitment to our customers and tenants.
“Their safety is a priority,” he said.
Mr Mieszala thanked the people of Douglas and further afield for their support and said he is looking forward to seeing the centre reopen.
“It’s been a long time and we really can’t wait to open our doors and welcome customers back.”