Fast-forward five years, and the £210m centre has welcomed more than 51 million shoppers and doubled the number of its retailers and services.
As the centre prepares for its birthday celebrations, centre manager Cormac Hamilton looks back on its five years in business.
He said: “The footfall is the highest it has ever been and we have just passed the 50 millionth visitor mark.
“For a centre of our size, that’s a great achievement.
“We are starting to attract national retailers who haven’t looked at Wakefield before, like Pandora, and we have a fantastic offering of office space, leisure areas and retail units.
“Coming from a point of recession to where we are now has been down to phenomenal work from everybody that has been involved. We now have got to continue to improve on what we already have to offer.”
The shopping centre will host a year of celebrations, beginning at the start of the school summer holidays with a world record attempt.
They hope to attract more than 350 people in fancy dress to the centre to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as a princess’.
Other events include a Jedi school run by Liam Neeson’s stunt double in Star Wars film Phantom Menace.
The centre is also planning a partnership with The Hepworth Wakefield, which is also celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.
Mr Hamilton said: “From shopping centres, to Unity Works, and the new train stations, we have a fabulous offering here in Wakefield and we want to shout about it.”