Belfast Telegraph

Two new restaurants on menu in £1.5m The Outlet expansion

By John Mulgrew

The new owners of The Outlet retail park say they will create 50 jobs as part of a £1.5m expansion.The Banbridge shopping attraction was bought - along with Junction One in Antrim - by Lotus Group and London investment firm Tristan Capital Partners, as revealed by the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year.

The owners are now adding two "popular international restaurant brands" to the Co Down park.

They are also spending additional cash on revamping and enhancing the area.

It's understood one of the new additions to The Outlet could be chicken chain Nando's.

The Outlet also spent £4.5m this year on a new eight-screen cinema - creating 25 jobs.

Alastair Coulson, director of property at Lotus Group, said the expansion is "another significant investment we are bringing forward which reflects the confidence we have in the reshaping of The Outlet".

"This is the first stage of our ambitious plans to reinvigorate the leisure, food and beverage and retail offer, and it is our intention to move forward quickly and build on our success," he said.

"We already have planning permission for the redevelopment of the units.

"But some final tweaks mean that we are only a matter of weeks away from full sign-off and then we are ready to go.

"We are at an advanced stage with two very well-known international restaurant brands and hope to be able to announce who they are very soon.

"Our footfall figures show that shoppers and visitors are picking The Outlet to shop, eat and have fun with their families at all times of the day, and we are making sure that we can attract them back time and again with further investment in the scheme."

Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph reported that The Outlet and Junction One were being sold off to The Lotus Group.

The retail parks were originally put on the market for approximately £60m.

It's understood the pair were finally sold off for around £40m in April.

Both businesses, which each have around 50 stores, have faced their own problems over the years.

Junction One, a massive retail site located just outside Antrim, was set up in 2004, boasting a range of big names.

But in the latest set of published accounts for the company, it was valued at less than £8m. That is around a tenth of its given value back in 2009.

The businesses at Junction One currently employ more than 1,000 staff.

Belfast Telegraph