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New Edinburgh St James development to be anchored by John Lewis

Edinburgh St James

TH Real Estate has confirmed that the John Lewis Partnership (‘John Lewis’) has agreed terms to anchor the 1.7 million sq ft Edinburgh St James development, one of the largest regeneration projects currently underway in the UK.

The agreement will see John Lewis remain open throughout work on the new scheme and operate a fully refurbished department store as part of the finished St James development.

Edinburgh St James, which will include up to 85 shops and 30 catering units, is expected to attract a range of operators including boutique and independent stores, high street retailers, aspirational brands and high end names, as well as international retailers looking to expand into the UK.

This year has seen significant progress on Edinburgh St James with planning approval secured in July, followed by approval of the central hotel design in August. Construction work is anticipated to commence onsite in early 2016.

Martin Perry, Director of Development at TH Real Estate, said "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."

Jeremy Collins, Property Director at John Lewis, added: 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.

The Edinburgh shop is John Lewis' regional flagship for Scotland. To ensure the store remains trading throughout the demolition and construction period, a series of early enabling works need to be delivered:

  • John Lewis’ existing electrical supply, which runs through the middle of the St James Centre will be relocated and a new substation built in Cathedral Lane, with the supply diverted along Broughton Street and across Picardy Place.
  • A new infill building will also be built to the adjoining John Lewis store to house a high voltage substation and electrical switch room.
  • This building will also be home to a temporary unloading bay and will house a new permanent fire escape.
  • During this phase of the works the store will begin reconfiguration works which include a new entrance to Leith Street, the relocation of the menswear department and the repositioning of a standby generator and boiler to the roof.

A series of essential works are already underway around the site:

  • New St Andrew’s House (the former Scottish Government building) is currently being stripped out, with work due to complete in December 2015, whilst the site is also being cleared ahead of demolition.
  • Scottish Power has been carrying out essential utilities work from the John Lewis goods entrance on Leith Street southwards to Little King Street; and from the junction of Little King Street, Picardy Place and Cathedral Lane across York Place and into Broughton Street. These works will provide a new primary electricity substation, which will benefit the wider area by providing a new source for the distribution of electricity.
  • A series of ‘investigative trenches’ have also been dug around the site allowing utility companies to verify the location of services under the ground to ensure accurate information is available to plan future works.

A world-class example of city-enhancing place making, Edinburgh St James will see the 1970’s shopping centre currently on site replaced with 850,000 sq ft of retail space, a multi-screen cinema, and a world class hotel comprising up to 210 rooms. Designed by Allan Murray Architects, the completed scheme will move Edinburgh further up the UK retail rankings, from 13th to eighth and will support the city’s tourist industry which contributes an estimated £260m to Edinburgh’s economy each year. Edinburgh St James will also create up to 3,000 permanent jobs and up to 5,000 jobs during the construction period, with completion anticipated for 2020.

CBRE represented TH Real Estate.

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