Grand Central Birmingham has unveiled the next tranche of retailers to sign to the scheme as its owners push back its opening date.
The retail scheme, which will be located above Birmingham New Street station and anchored by John Lewis, will now open in 2015 instead of 2014 due to complications regarding the construction of the centre, including issues relating to car parks and taxi ranks.
Grand Central leasing director Keith Stone said the opening date for the scheme had been pushed back from pre-Christmas 2014 to ensure a better customer experience.
The White Company, L’Occitane and Kiehls are the latest retailers to sign up to the scheme, which comprises 40 retail units. Stone said a further 20 retail deals were in solicitors’ hands.
Overall, 80% of the retail and leisure units are signed or under offer. “At this stage we are quite a long way ahead of where we thought we would be,” said Stone. “The lion share of retailers we’re doing business with do not already have shops in the city.”
Stone said the John Lewis opening, which was announced in 2011, is “key” to the development. It will be John Lewis’s first store in central Birmingham. “John Lewis has got huge brand loyalty. It will pull in new spend into the city,” he said.
He added Grand Central Birmingham, which is being built over the old Pallasades shopping centre, would bring a premium retail offering to the city. Stone said the scheme will enable Birmingham to “reposition itself in the national retail hierarchy”.
Birmingham is ranked fourth in CACI’s retail rankings survey, behind London’s West End, Glasgow and Manchester.
Grand Central Birmingham, which is being developed by Birmingham City Council and Network Rail, will join established shopping centres the Bull Ring and the Mailbox in the city.
He said Grand Central Birmingham is “completely unique” as it will be integrated into the revamped New Street train station, which is used by over 40 million people a year.
The White Company head of property Sarah King said: “Grand Central was the obvious choice for our first stand alone store in Birmingham, being located at the heart of the city’s retail offer, with such a strong anchor, and alongside other premium brands that will be new to the city. We are most impressed with the project which will have a significant impact on shopping patterns in the city centre.”
Restaurants to have signed up to the scheme include Yo! Sushi, Giraffe, Carluccios, Vietnamese restaurant Pho, Tortilla and Tapas Revolution.