Russells on site at Ellesmere Centre

Simon Donohue

Construction work has begun on 12 new retail units totalling 20,000 sq ft at Derwent Holdings' Ellesmere Shopping Centre site in Walkden, Salford.

Trafford-based Russells Construction has been appointed by Derwent to undertake the third and final phase of the £60m shopping centre development.

The 11-month construction programme, which includes additional car parking and demolition of existing units, is set for completion by the autumn.

The architect for the project is AEW Architects.

Russells, which has previously worked with Derwent on the construction and subsequent extension of the Anlaby Retail Park in Hull, won the Ellesmere Centre contract following a competitive tender.

Existing occupiers JD Sports and Costa Coffee have moved into the main part of the shopping centre to make way for the redevelopment of the retail park section.

The Ellesmere Shopping Centre is already home to a 170,000 sq ft Tesco Extra store, a Boots, Post Office, numerous banks and food outlets, and a market hall.

When complete, the centre will accommodate almost 2,000 car parking spaces.

The latest development is being marketed by GVA, which is already reporting interest from national brands.

The Ellesmere Shopping Centre site will eventually total 380,000 sq ft of retail space.

Russells Construction director Gareth Russell said: "The redevelopment of the Ellesmere Centre is one of the largest retail projects in the North West at the moment, and we're pleased to have been appointed as main contractor for the third phase.

"The investment being made by Derwent is not only a welcome boost to the local community which will use the facilities, but also for retailers, contractors and construction trades in local the area."

Sammy Jones, associate at GVA Manchester, said the start of the third phase was an important milestone in the redevelopment.

She added: "Together with Phase 2, these works will enhance the entire development.

"Securing a range of national retailers to this phase will help drive footfall and improve the shopping experience for customers, providing them more choice.

"We are already in discussion with a number of national operators who are interested in taking units and are close to agreeing terms with them."

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