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Wonderful first year for The Exchange at High Chelmer

“It’s been a fantastic first year for The Exchange. It’s given us an enviable, purpose-built food offering that we just didn’t have before, and the response from those that live in and around the city has been great.”

High Centre Manager Mick McDonagh was speaking as 25 July comes closer, a date that marks the one year anniversary of the first restaurant – Côte Brasserie – to open at The Exchange. At the time, it was the culmination of a multi-million pound development at the Chelmsford shopping centre and since then it’s transformed the area into a hub of eating, drinking, socialising and a key foodie destination in the city.

Footfall figures from the first week of opening prove just how highly anticipated The Exchange was, and in the week that both Côte Brasserie and Carluccio’s opened, the centre welcomed more than 17,000 additional visitors compared to the previous week and the equivalent week in 2015.

“This was a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait,” said Mick. “Work started on The Exchange in April 2014 and for the two years of construction we just couldn’t wait for it to open. Having seen it in action for just shy of a year, it’s hard to imagine the centre without it.”

Marking the single biggest addition to High Chelmer since it opened more than 45 years ago, it was a sign of real confidence in both the centre and in the city by landlords, LaSalle Investment Management – confidence that has been more than repaid with the popularity of the al fresco dining area.

Hundreds of new jobs have been created, cuisines added to the Chelmsford food scene and celebrities have been spotted in the restaurants where business has boomed. “We’ve enjoyed a great first year here,” said Anson Bartholomew, General Manager of Turtle Bay.

“We have 39 permanently employed team members in a combination of full and part-time roles. We’ve had nearly 15,000 table covers since we opened and we’re trading above expectations for the year. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone.”

Since opening, The Exchange has continued to grow and the arrival of a taste of Indochina in the form of growing restaurant group, Banana Tree, will further add to the global culinary experience at the centre.

“As well as attracting thousands of new visitors, The Exchange has also made us an even more attractive proposition for big name stores and restaurants,” added Mick. “Banana Tree got in touch not long after the original four eateries started trading and we’re all looking forward to them opening their doors to the public in the near future.”

With Chelmsford booming with new arrivals throughout, The Exchange at High Chelmer has been at the vanguard of the expanding city and the future is looking increasingly bright for the food destination.