Next and River Island open at The Oracle, Reading

2018 saw two major new tenants opening new stores at The Oracle Reading. Our Project Jenga created a new two storey unit for Next and significant remodelling of a major unit on the upper mall allowed River Island the wider frontage to promote their brand.

Next and River Island were key target tenants for our clients Hammerson to attract to The Oracle in Reading, resulting in two major Landlord Works projects.

Next (Project Jenga)

To provide the amount of space required by NEXT meant amalgamating three shop units on Town Mall and linking these with a large unit at lower level plus absorbing the little used Yield Hall Lane mall. The major challenge was to remove part of a structural core to allow NEXT to site their escalators just inside the upper mall shopfront giving the best linkage between the two levels.

HFM worked with structural engineers Pell Frischmann and demolition specialists Scudder to achieve this delicate and exacting task, inserting new steel columns on piled foundations to replace the concrete core and fire escape stair from the car park levels above. A new steel framed stair core was built and negotiations with the Fire Officer also allowed a significant change to the fire fighting strategy.

River Island

This unit at the end of the Upper Mall adjacent Debenhams had been vacant since an earlier project created space for Victoria's Secret next door. The problem was that the frontage of U11 was considered too narrow to create enough impact on the mall and so it had proved difficult to attract the premium fashion brands that Hammerson wanted to occupy this prime location in the centre.

The solution we came up was to absorb the fire escape corridor between the unit and Debenhams, and negotiate with the department store to surrender a narrow strip of their demise in order to build a new fire escape route.

HFM worked with Approved Inspectors Salus to agree these alterations with the Fire Officer, and Scudder carried out the works at the same time as Project Jenga was proceeding.

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