The Crown Estate will fund the development of the £140m Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure scheme after buying the site from existing owner LxB Retail Properties PLC.
Works will commence for the first phase of the major development towards the end of 2015, creating about 400,000 sq ft retail and restaurant destination.
The scheme also includes a lake, which will be made available for activities like canoeing and wakeboarding, with a series of restaurants and a visitor centre looking out over the water.
Occupiers already signed up to take space at Rushden Lakes include H&M, Costa and M&S, with development on site expected to start in autumn 2015 and project completion set for summer 2016.
It is estimated that the scheme will create about 2,500 jobs, directly and indirectly, through the construction phase, and through jobs in the retail and catering sector once the park has been built.
Hannah Milne, regional portfolio manager at The Crown Estate, said: “Rushden Lakes will be the first in a new generation of shopping parks, setting an entirely new standard for the retail and leisure experience offered by assets of this type.
“We will see industry leading names coming to Rushden Lakes, many of which will never have traded out of town before which really demonstrates the scheme’s quality.
“The development will create a fantastic new asset for the local area, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, hundreds of jobs, and revitalising this unique site for the benefit of visitors from across the Midlands.”
Jon McCarthy, LxB adviser LLP, said: “From conception, the Rushden Lakes project is something that LxB are very proud to be associated with.
“It is important to us that we work with partners who understand the vision behind Rushden Lakes and in The Crown Estate we have found the perfect partner to help deliver this ground breaking project.
Rushden Lakes will be the first in a new generation of shopping parks, setting an entirely new standard for the retail and leisure experience.Hannah Milne
“LxB will remain responsible for delivering the scheme and will ensure continuity for the community and local stakeholders.”
David Oliver, chief executive at East Northamptonshire Council, said: “This is a very exciting time for East Northamptonshire with Rushden Lakes creating jobs, attracting shoppers and visitors to our district and giving a real boost to our economy. “We’re delighted to see The Crown Estate supporting the asset with LxB delivering the development through to completion in summer 2016.”
LxB, which took the scheme through planning, gaining consent from East Northamptonshire District Council in 2012, will develop Rushden Lakes.
Rushden Lakes includes two areas adjacent to the main scheme which could represent future phases of development.
LxB and The Crown Estate are considering options for the development of these sites. The agreement announced today will see The Crown Estate collaborate for a second time with LXB, after the two organisations teamed up in 2013 to bring forward the £80m Banbury Gateway Fashion Park, where construction is currently under way.