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John Lewis to anchor Edinburgh St James development

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Department store John Lewis has confirmed that it has agreed to anchor the revamped St James shopping centre development in Edinburgh, after dropping its objection to the proposal.

John Lewis had warned that the disruption and loss of around 53,000 square foot of retail space during the building phase would have an “unacceptably severe” impact on the store and stated that it could pull the plug on its Edinburgh flagship store.

However, the department store has now come to an agreement with the council and developers, which will see the current John Lewis store remain open throughout work on the new scheme and once completed its flagship will anchor the 1.7 million square foot development.

Planning permission was approved in July to redevelop the 1970’s shopping centre, replacing the current site with retail space for up to 85 shops and 30 catering units, as well as a multi-screen cinema, a hotel and 250 luxury apartments. It is hoped that the new development will attract a range of operators including boutique and independent stores, high street retailers, high-end names, as well as international retailers looking to expand into the UK.

Edinburgh St James redevelopment to be anchored by John Lewis

Construction work is expected to commence in early 2016. The development will create up to 3,000 permanent jobs and up to 5,000 jobs during the construction period, with completion anticipated for 2020.

Jeremy Collins, property director at John Lewis, said: "We’re delighted to have reached agreement with TH Real Estate for these exciting development proposals at the St James Centre. John Lewis prides itself on providing an excellent shopping experience to its customers, and we will continue to work closely with the developers to ensure that disruption to our shop is minimised where possible as work progresses.

“We look forward to our shop's full refurbishment being part of Edinburgh’s improved retail experience."

Martin Perry, director of development at TH Real Estate, added: "The signing of the John Lewis deal is an important milestone and we are delighted that they will anchor the scheme, in addition to remaining open for business throughout construction.

“It has always been our ambition to deliver a world class destination for Scotland and this important piece of the jigsaw brings us ever closer to starting on site in spring next year.”

Image: Vision for Edinburgh St James

John Lewis
th real estate