British Land appointed McLaren to build one of the most high-profile, exciting retail and leisure developments in the UK.

The McLaren team worked in partnership with British Land to convert the former bus station at Bretonside to create a 65,000 sqft enhancement to the existing town centre shopping facilities.   

About the project

The extension of Drake Circus comprises a 12-screen Cineworld IMAX cinema, 15 restaurant units and a multi-level 420 space car park, part-built under an existing viaduct. The new cinema combines state-of-the-art audio and visual technology with cinema screens raging in size from an 80-seater up to a giant 450-seat IMAX auditoria. The internal walls of the Cineworld multiplex required specific technical management by the McLaren team to meet acoustic, soundproofing requirements.

An impressive sky-bar has also been built above the cinema. The main building was built using a steel frame structure. The construction also involved the use of crossed-flat vertical bracings to provide lateral stability in conjunction with composite floor deck and separate roof bracings. 

One of the key features of the building is its eye-catching black and white cladding, which has also given the main building its nickname: The Barcode.


Creating career opportunities in construction

During the project, 20 apprentices and 10 work experience placements were employed in various roles to assist with the design and build. In addition, 12 careers events were hosted on site and 25 educational site visits were held to endorse careers within the construction industry. 

In partnership with CTP, Greenlight Safety Consultants and Building Plymouth, McLaren also held an event about construction and built environment, to raise awareness of the career opportunities available in the industry to former members of the armed forces. 

An impressive score of 42 was achieved from the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the project has created more than 350 jobs in Plymouth.