Newport steps up with Friars Walk

Friars Walk, designed by Leslie Jones Architecture on behalf of Queensberry Real Estate, has opened its doors to the public, becoming one of only a handful of retail and leisure destinations to do so this year.

The 390,000 sq ft city centre development sits at the heart of a comprehensive programme of regeneration underway in Newport between the River Usk, with its comprehensive leisure offering, and Newport’s existing retail core. As such, the design for the £117 million scheme needed to reconnect these disjointed parts of the city to give an overall boost to Newport’s retail and leisure economy.

Leslie Jones’ innovative designs achieve this by seamlessly integrating a network of covered streets to create an all-weather destination. Differences in street levels are resolved by a new three-storey Debenhams to the north, which will encourage pedestrian activity, while double-height shop fronts meet the needs of modern retailers.

A series of new public spaces will further reinforce the integration of Friars Walk within Newport’s city centre. John Frost Square will be laid out around a new eight screen Cineworld multiplex cinema complete with new restaurants including Las Iguanas, Nandos, TGI Fridays, GBK and Le Bistrot Pierre.

Paul Sargent, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Queensberry Real Estate said:  “At Queensberry Real Estate, we pride ourselves on our design-led approach to development and were therefore committed to creating a stand-out scheme for Newport at the new Friars Walk development, which would meet the aspirations of those in and around the city. The result is a dynamic piece of architecture at the heart of the city centre that both integrates and widens Newport’s retail and leisure offer. By setting the standard this high it creates a new benchmark for all future development.”

Brian Tracey, Director at Leslie Jones Architecture said: “We took inspiration from the surrounding Welsh landscape and Newport’s historic architecture in the designs for Friars Walk, which incorporate slate, timber, steel and glass. This further reinforces the scheme’s position within the architectural context of Newport, while being both functional and aspirational for the public and occupiers alike.”

Friars Walk opened to schedule on 12 November with 25 of the stores trading as well as six of the family-friendly restaurants and the eight screen Cineworld multiplex cinema. 

View action from the opening day on Retail Week: