Ireland's first John Lewis to anchor Lisburn park

John Lewis is set to open its first department store in Northern Ireland.

It has signed as anchor tenant at Chelsfield Stannifer's Sprucefield Park development at Lisburn, County Antrim.

It will feature in phase two of the scheme, which is expected to open in autumn 2006.

A planning application has been lodged for 460,000 sq ft (42,735 sq m) of retail floorspace, with additional parking, road improvements and landscaping.

The application includes the 220,000 sq ft (20,440 sq m) John Lewis department store.

Sprucefield Park is situated on the main A1/M1 route west of Lisburn.

The first phase of the scheme opened late last year, with B&Q, Currys and Sainsbury's all taking units.

The developer, formed by Chelsfield's recent acquisition of Stannifer, will be aiming to attract more entrants to the Northern Irish market as part of its marketing strategy.

John Lewis director of retail operations Gareth Thomas said: 'We have invested a lot of time and effort in our search for the right location. Research clearly showed us that the only location in the province capable of supporting a full-range John Lewis department store was Sprucefield Park.'

Meanwhile, AM Developments' Victoria Square project in Belfast city centre has gone unconditional. After five years in the pipeline, all conditions in the development have been met and work is now commencing on site.

The Dutch developer has secured£300 million of funding from German property fund CGI. Victoria Square, to be anchored by House of Fraser, comprises 700,000 sq ft (65,030 sq m) of retail and leisure space, together with parking and housing.

Donaldsons is the scheme's letting agent.