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By Connie Osborne Thursday 30 January 2014 Updated: 31/01 10:03
A DATE has been set for the official opening of the town's Nando's as the first of a raft of changes for the Kingfisher Shopping Centre.
The chicken chain, which will be based in The Hub area of the centre, will open its doors to shoppers on Friday, April 4.
Bosses have signed a 15-year lease to take on the 4,000 sq ft space for the 120 seat restaurant, originally used by TJ Hughes.
Oriental buffet Real China is due to open in May with a further two restaurants in the pipeline with one expected to open in June while the fourth is still in talks.
The move is part of an £8million project to transform the centre.
The Hub, which neighbours Pure Gym and Vue cinema, will be open from 11.30am until 11.30pm to boost the town's evening economy and create up to 100 new jobs.
As part of the new-look centre, an escalator will be installed outside of McDonald's in March to replace the current stairs to Vue cinema. A £45,000 upgrade on the centre's current escalators is also ongoing.
The next phase of the refurbishment includes turning the ground level stores on Evesham Walk into double height front shops, meaning they could have a second level to sell goods on or use the space for storage.
Owners Capital & Regional are also attempting to bring brands such as Topshop and Gap to the centre.
A makeover of Worcester Square is also on the cards to turn it into a community area with a coffee shop, seating and exhibition space for local groups.
The balconies will be removed to add extra light and open up the space, while colour will be also be added throughout the centre.
The automatic doors at the Evesham Walk entrance will also be replaced with manual ones to keep the cold out but special automatic doors for disabled people will be available.
Centre manager Ken Williams said the changes would make the centre look cleaner and fresher.
"Most places with cinemas have restaurants, you see this at the retail parks a lot, and we wanted to provide this full experience of leisure attached to shopping," he said.
"In terms of shops, there are so many options we want in the town. These companies are swamped with towns requesting to fill up open space, and we are just one of many wanting them.
"It is a bit chicken and the egg. You have to decided whether you start the work and hope they will want to come, or do you try to get shops on board and then do the work."
Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who visited The Hub last week, said: "When I met with the new centre owners and they told me their plans I was really excited, and it is just brilliant to see it come together and flourish.
"It is what Redditch deserves."
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