Works to rejuvenate an historic area in Horsham town centre are set to come to an end.
Piries Place is finally gearing up to re-open fully to the public after being a building site for nearly two years.
Mr Pirie and his Donkey returned to the area this week marking the start of a new era for the shopping quarter which will host everything from restaurants and shops to a cinema and a hotel.
Developers Gilbert Ash and Reef Estates have been undertaking the £35m rejuvenation scheme and confirmed works are drawing to a close.
Paul Lewis, project manager for Reef estates, said most of the work had been completed and finishing touches were being made to the final units.
He said: “We have got a few things to finish off but we are looking to have all units finished by the middle of May.
“It’s come along well and the overall feedback we have had from the tenants is very positive. It is a nice looking scheme and hopefully it compliments what Horsham stands for.”
The development has seen big changes made to Piries Place.
The unit formerly home to Waitrose has been demolished along with several shopping units on the eastern side. The iconic archway has also been removed and shops on the west side of the site have been gutted and refitted.
New buildings have been created in place of the demolished units and the area is set to host a cinema, 92-bed hotel, several new shops, restaurants and office spaces.
Boutique chain Everyman opened in the new cinema unit last month whilst Premier Inn is set to take over the hotel.
National chain The White Brasserie Company will open a new pub - named the Red Deer - in the redeveloped former Waitrose unit which fronts the Carfax whilst Miller and Carter Steakhouse will open on May 24 in the unit next to Everyman.
It has also been confirmed Starbucks will taking over the unit opposite Premier Inn, formerly home to Meat in the Middle, although no opening date has been confirmed.
However, Mr Lewis said many of the businesses had already begun fitting out the units and he expected them to be open by July.
He said: “Once it is open you are going to have outside seating, bars, restaurants and the cinema. It’s almost a one stop shop for a family day out.
“We want to make it look as good as we possibly can. There is still work we need to do but we want everyone to come down and enjoy it.”
He added there had been interest in the remaining units and office space, particularly in the former B52s unit by a similar type of operator.
As well as the new retailers and restaurants which will be opening many current tenants will be remaining.
Mr Lewis praised the businesses for their patience during the work and hoped they would see the benefit.
He said: “They have been fantastic. They have had a building site on their doorstep for two years and they have been extremely patient and supportive.”
Peter Stinson, site manager for Gilbert Ash, said: “Gilbert Ash were privileged to be involved with the exciting new revamp of Piries Place, Horsham which is nearing completion.
“The new multi-use development was a very complex build but with the understanding and great attitude of the local business owners and residents it made the process possible.
“We started this project with the careful removal of Mr Pirie who was packed and stored away until the new area was ready for him, with many passers-by asking of his whereabouts. This unveiling marks the start of a new era for Mr Pirie and an exciting time for Horsham with the development opening for business very soon.”
What do you think of the new-look Piries Place? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org