Harlequin Shopping Centre
|Location||Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom|
|Owner||(93%) Intu Properties, (7%) Watford Borough Council|
|Architect||Chapman Taylor Partners|
|No. of stores and services||Over 145|
|Total retail floor area||107,000 m2 (1,150,000 sq ft)|
|No. of floors||7 (inc. Parking)|
|Parking||2050 + 3000 (Watford Council) in Watford|
The Harlequin Shopping Centre, currently known as Intu Watford, is a shopping centre in the middle of Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. It opened between 1990 and 1992. The centre was rebranded as intu Watford in 2013 following the renaming of its parent Capital Shopping Centres Group as Intu Properties.
The building is glass roofed with symmetrical malls. The anchor stores of the centre are a branch of John Lewis (known as Trewins until rebranding in 2001), Debenhams, Apple Store, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Next.
In 1962 there were discussions about development of the site with the plans including a ten-pin bowling alley and 130 flats.
The Sainsbury's store on Queen's Road was bought and demolished (1983) to create space for the centre and a warehouse. During the development of the centre, listed high street buildings were renovated and Queen's Road was maintained as a pedestrian cross route through the town.
The shopping centre was named and opened by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd (founded 1987, dissolved 2000) in 1990. The name was a winning entry to a local competition; according to the Watford Observer, the name was probably a reference to the nearby railway line, at the time branded the "Harlequin line" as it passed through Harlesden and Queen's Park.
Watford Council extended a resident parking permit scheme in 1996 to deal with the parking congestion that had arisen since the opening of the Centre.
Intu Properties purchased the adjoining Charter Place shopping centre from Watford Borough Council in April 2013. Planning permission was granted in 2014 for Charter Place to be demolished, to make way for a new mixed-use scheme which comprises 16 retail units, a new department store, 11 restaurants and a 9 screen Cineworld cinema, one of which is a high definition IMAX. Which will be integrate into the main Intu Watford centre Demolition work began in November 2015. On September 27, 2018 Debenhams opened a new 86,000 sq ft store in the extension, featuring its first redesigned beauty hall. The 400,000 sq ft extension has increased the total size of the shopping centre to 1.15 million sq ft, making it number 18 in the list of the UK biggest retail destinations.
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