The first of more than a dozen businesses officially opens today in Halifax’s Broad Street Plaza.
The centre will welcome its first customers when Frankie & Benny’s opens its doors at noon.
More businesses will be opening over the coming weeks as fitting-out projects are completed at Halifax’s new leisure complex.
A weekend of fun including a magician and fire-eater have been planned by Frankie & Benny’s. General manager Jennifer Teale said 50 jobs had been created with the restaurant opening and it seats 152.
“We have been marketing in the town centre and everybody we have spoken to is excited about the plaza opening,” she said.
“There will now be more choice in Halifax.”
She said the restaurant was the first in the company to have new decor based on an Italian/American theme with rich colours and old pictures. Next to open is the Harvester Restaurant on Tuesday but before then it is inviting the public in tomorrow and Sunday.
Harvester’s marketing manager, Alex Meyer said: “We want to offer people an exclusive preview of the new restaurant and the freshly prepared dishe.”
TGI Friday’s Pizza Express, Nando’s, Chinese Buffet and J. D. Wetherspooon’s will also be opening soon along with a Pure Gym, NHS drop-in centre and a Calderdale Metro meet and greet centre. There will also be a 100-bed Premier Inn with an on-site Beefeater Restaurant.
And, Vue Cinema will be providing Halifax with its first multi-screen cinema when it opens.
Town centre parking is also given a boost as the plaza will provide more than 400 spaces.
It is 18 years since the Courier revealed plans for redeveloping the site.
In1998, Trinity Investments, of Wigan, was appointed to come up with a scheme which it named “Broadway” but it fell through in 2000 when the company went into liquidation.
In late 2002, the council decided to market Broad Street again as “one of the best town centre development opportunities in Yorkshire”.
Five major developers threw their hats into the ring in 2003 with ideas for hotels, shops, a bowling alley, and apartments. The winner was Miller Gregory.
The company hoped to complete the scheme in 2006 but it wasn’t to be. A year was wasted on needless discussions with Government about whether approval was needed to sell the land for a peppercorn amount.
In 2007 a development agreement was approved which allowed for the demolition of the old Netto supermarket.
The council has confirmed that it will be opening a Customer First advice centre at Broad Street. In September 2010, work officialy started on the £50 million Broad Street “Plaza” . If the whole development is as financially successful as everyone hopes, the authority can look forward to a 50/50 share on any profit above a 15 per cent threshold, although that looks unlikely.
It will receive £2 million in return for its freehold interest in the site and a share of the income from parking charges.