Hampshire & Isle of Wight

£85m WestQuay Watermark development to open in Southampton

WestQuay Watermark under construction
Image caption The WestQuay Watermark complex will open on 8 December

A leisure complex is to open to the public nearly two years after construction started.

About 500 jobs will be created at the £85m WestQuay Watermark hub in Southampton, developers Hammerson said.

The first of "up to 20" restaurants will launch on 8 December with a cinema to follow "early next year".

Southampton City Council said the "bold and innovative" building was an "important regeneration project for the city centre".

The design includes upper and lower walkways with restaurants and cafes and a 10-screen cinema and bowling alley set above.

Image caption The site sits opposite the old town walls on Western Esplanade

The building occupies a long-vacant brownfield site close to another centre, Leisure World, which also houses a cinema and restaurants.

A new public square in front of the city's historical wall will be used for open air screenings and concerts.

Further phases of development could incorporate a hotel and residential tower, the council said.

Previously the authority said the scheme had stalled because of the recession and the viability of the first phase was "marginal".

An award of £7m from the government's Regional Growth Fund "enabled it to proceed", the council said.

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Media captionTime-lapse of WestQuay Watermark being constructed in Southampton

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