In less than six months’ time Rushden Lakes will be almost complete.
The multi-million-pound retail mecca, which opened in July 2017, is getting ready to add a host of restaurants and leisure activities to its offering.
Work is ongoing at the L-shaped West Terrace, which will house the 14-screen multiplex Cineworld cinema, as well as the nearby Garden Square.
Centre manager Paul Rich said they’re both on track to fully open around June-time - but what else is opening before then?
Burger joint Five Guys and popular chicken chain Nando’s have already joined the culinary line-up, with Heavenly Desserts opening their doors later this month.
Workers are currently fitting out Zizzi with Frankie and Benny’s, Chiquito, TGI Friday, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Out of Office Coffee and a Starbucks, inside the cinema complex, all still to come.
Indoor play park 360 Play opened yesterday (Wednesday) with climbing centre Rock Up, which will have 26 towering walls up to 8m high, due to start fitting out in the next couple of weeks. There will also be indoor golf and a trampoline centre.
There will be dedicated concierges in the atrium of the terrace, which is about 95 per cent let, to assist customers.
The Garden Square, a boutique shopping area which will have 12 units including a jewellers, is starting to take shape. Tenants of the units have not yet been publicly announced.
Mr Rich said: “I have been here since May 2017 and the progress has been not just interesting but exciting for everyone who works here.
“We’ve gone from 600 workers to a point where we are well above 1,000.”
Rushden Lakes had more than four million visitors in its first year but many shoppers have complained about parking problems and traffic.
The retail destination has about 10,000 cars through the gate on an average Saturday.
Mr Rich said the latest phase will increase the number of parking spaces from about 1,600 to 1,850, with more lilac accessible spaces and a shop mobility provision.
Visitors will be able to register their numberplates on iPads in the customer service centre and leisure atrium if they want to exceed the maximum parking stay of five hours once the leisure scheme is complete.
Mr Rich said: “The increase in parking spaces will be a real benefit.
“We’re no longer just a shopping destination and more people are using the centre in a different way.”
Traffic problems on the current entrance roundabout will ease when work on a recently approved link road, between the site and Ditchford Lane gets under way. It’s not yet known when this work will start.
Once this is complete, what’s next for the massive retail park?
If approved there could be up to 12,000 sq m of more shops, restaurants and offices, as well as an extra 800 parking spaces.
Rushden Lakes may be nearing completion, but there could be even more excitement to come.