Azara Blog: Grand Arcade opens in Cambridge

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Date published: 2008/03/27

After three years of work, the Grand Arcade shopping centre finally opened its doors to the public this morning. As to be expected, it is just Lion Yard Mark II, and the biggest entrance to the mall is via Lion Yard. The Lion Yard folk are perhaps feeling a bit left out in the cold (e.g. the car park is now called the Grand Arcade car park rather than the Lion Yard one) and put a brave face on it this morning by having a person dressed up as a lion walking around to try and remind people that Lion Yard still exists.

Amazingly enough, a large chunk of the space in the Grand Arcade was not ready to be opened (so a lot of it seems not even to have been let). But that did not stop the crowds descending. The main attraction early on seems to have been the new Apple Store:
Apple Store queue in Lion Yard
where there was a long queue of Mac weenies keen to get their hands on a free t-shirt. And the staff replied in American gung ho fashion by cheering and clapping everyone who entered the store (but they will soon enough learn that that style does not go down very well in Cambridge).

Not surprisingly, most of the stores that are open so far are selling clothes. Presumably this is what the public wants. Other than the Apple Store, and the already opened John Lewis, the main shop of note is Swarovski (pretty much opposite the Apple Store, as it happens). Obviously someone thinks that Cambridge has a bit of money, but it will be interesting to see if they survive for long.

As for the building, it's pretty much as you would expect from a modern shopping mall. A big lobby down the middle with stores on both sides and on two levels (well, three levels if you count the toilets and one entrance to John Lewis). The entrance on St Andrew's Street features a large in-your-face gate and sign promoting the mall.

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