Ahead of opening a new 100,000 sq ft immersive entertainment hub in a former Debenhams in Wandsworth, Gravity Active Entertainment’s co-founder has hailed “a changing of the guard” on the UK high street.
With the £6m venue set to offer guests 16 bowling lanes, VR gaming, e-darts, a go-kart track and a 60ft bar as of 7 August, Michael Harrison stated retail and leisure must now work together to deliver benefits to both sectors.
“I don’t think the High Street is dead, this is just a changing of the guard,” Harrison told the Evening Standard. “We’ve worked alongside retail. I could have put all of this in an industrial park much cheaper, but that isn’t what this is about.”
“This is about repurposing the High Street. It’s about people getting back out, it’s about making that centre a real destination. It’s certainly a trend that experiential leisure is the way forward, I do think it is the future of the High Street.”
The Wandsworth venue is part of Gravity’s plan to fast track expansion beyond its current 22-site estate in UK, Germany and Saudi Arabia, with backing from Guinness Asset Management helping secure lease discussions for a further ten sites, with another 50 international venues planned before 2023.
“We’re at the bottom of this wave, and this could be a very, very big company if we get this right, and Wandsworth will prove that.”