BUILDING work on a new rank of retail units in Yate has passed the half-way stage.
Four new shop units are being constructed on East Walk, in Yate Shopping Centre, as part of the redevelopment of that side of the centre.
Three national retailers, M&S Simply Food, Costa Coffee and Sports Direct, have already signed up to take on the leases of the units with M&S due to combine two of the shop fronts to make one larger space.
All three shops are due to be completed in March and the high profile retailers are expected to move in shortly afterwards.
Andrew Lowrey, Yate Shopping Centre manager, said the development was going well.
He said: "Building work at Yate Shopping Centre is going according to plan with construction of the new retail units in the East Walk development scheduled for completion in mid-March.
"We are currently in the 13th week of the 20-week build programme and all steel work and first floor decking has been completed so the form of the new units is now visible to shoppers visiting the centre.
"The occupiers – M&S Simply Food, Sports Direct and Costa Coffee - will then take occupancy of the units to start fitting-out the shells with openings scheduled for late spring."
The new rank of shops follows the opening of Tesco Extra, also on East Walk, in October 2011 and forms part of the shopping centre’s plans to invest in Yate making the town a shopping destination to rival the region’s other retail areas.
Despite the closure of menswear shop Burton, fashion retailer Peacocks and several card shops last year, Yate celebrated a number of successful events during 2012 including its annual Christmas lights switch on which attracted 3,000 people, Diamond Jubilee music events, a visit from the Coca Cola lorry and a beach in Four Season’s Square which brought in many visitors during a week in the summer.
It also saw the opening of Poundland, 99p Stores, a 99p café and a JD Wetherspoon pub.
As part of the building work, a block of public toilets adjacent to the Superdrug store on East Walk has been demolished. New modern facilities are being built to replace them in West Walk.
Said Mr Lowrey: "Construction of the new toilet facilities in West Walk is also going to plan with the foundations and concrete base completed.
"We have now confirmed the final colours and finishes opting for a modern and vibrant theme. The new toilets are scheduled to open on February 25."