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A new 118,000 sq ft Asda superstore which anchors the first phase of the £40 million St Matthew¹s Quarter regeneration scheme in the centre of Walsall has opened with the creation of 500 jobs.

The opening marks the completion by Norton & Proffitt Developments Ltd, a joint venture between St Modwen Properties PLC and Goold Estates Ltd, of construction of the first stage of this major mixed use project which also includes seven shops, a 1,000-space multi-storey car park and 41 apartments pre-sold to Accord Housing Ltd.

“Asda¹s opening and the completion of the first phase forms a real watershed in the town centre’s regeneration,” says Derek West, St Modwen¹s development director. “Work on the second phase which involves the conversion of Shannon Mill into loft apartments, offices and speciality shopping, will begin in the next two weeks for occupation in summer 2008.

“We are now moving forward with proposals for the third phase of St Matthew¹s Quarter which will bring forward more than 200,000 sq ft of new retail and leisure space.”

Dominic Goold, managing director of Goold Estates, adds: “This long process since acquiring the site in 1999 has been a labour of love and I¹m very proud to see this project come to fruition in my home town. It may have taken a long time but schemes of this size do and the town has already benefitted by the creation of hundreds of new jobs at Asda.”

The Asda store is the largest of its in-town operations and has broken records for a new store opening with 46,000 customers in the first week.

Jon Clements, the store manager of Asda comments: “I am really pleased with the huge footfall we have had for the Walsall store opening, in particular the response to 24-hour opening. The late evenings and Sundays have been particularly busy. The new roads and car park give our customers a hassle-free shopping experience.”

For further information contact Derek West (0121 222 9400) or Dominic Goold (01922 613131). Issued by Paul Raymer of Howle Chapman Raymer (0121 236 7771).