Bournemouth: Verve Properties breathes life into The Avenue

Verve Properties has announced that planning consent has been granted to give a new look to The Avenue Centre, now re named The Avenue, adjacent to Bournemouth’s Square, in Commercial Road.

Nearly 40 years ago the former Bealesons department store was converted into a shopping centre and given a ‘futuristic look’, which consisted of just a simple black glass facade. The trend at the time was to make old elaborate buildings more ‘modern’ looking. 

Sadly, the original early 20th century buildings at The Avenue were badly damaged and covered over. However, recent investigations show that some original fabric remains, including stone arched windows and art deco tiling. Where the original features remain they will be uncovered, repaired and retained. Where damage has been sustained or the façade is missing, the affected areas will be replaced with a living wall housing a centrally located, giant seven-metre TV screen.

Ashley Nicholson of Verve Properties, who acquired the building recently, said: “Retail may be struggling but town centres are vital and must be preserved as places where people congregate as a ‘go to’ destination. Retailing and town centres are evolving towards more experiential shopping and activities. We are keen to adapt and position The Avenue into that growing trend.

“Our background is creating destinations and restoring buildings – often humble ones – and they don’t come much humbler than this. Focusing on Bournemouth’s world-renowned gardens, we decided a living wall was the right metaphor for a new beginning and counter-balanced the uncovered and restored original fabric that celebrates the Town’s rich history.  

“The buzz word Biophilia means the desire to introduce nature into the human world.  It comes from the Greek ‘philia’ meaning ‘love of’ and with the ‘bio’ prefix, literally means; love of life and living things.  With all the negativity concerning our planet, there has never been a more appropriate time for us to be aware of the joy and importance of nature and we will be continuing the biophilic theme further inside the centre.

“The consent also includes permission for a permanent, 7 metre wide TV screen on which we plan to show events such as the Bournemouth Air Festival coverage and Wimbledon.

“Verve are also in discussion with a number of parties to reinforce and broaden the retail offering in the premises, as well as introduce an exciting programme of events and pop up activities, with more information to be announced later.”

Verve is recognised for imaginative redevelopment of period buildings and the success of their previous projects is testament to its winning formula.