Retail Property - Exeter's Princesshay scheme signs Debenhams as anchor

Debenhams has added to its extensive store opening programme by exchanging contracts to anchor Land Securities'£175 million Princesshay development in Exeter, Devon.

The 130,000 sq ft (12,075 sq m) department store will be located on Bedford Street, in the vicinity of the existing Post Office building. The outlet will have its own entrances at the corner of Bedford Street and Princesshay, and on the corner of Post Office Street.

The four-storey building, designed by architects Panter Hudspit, represents a further evolution of Debenhams' 2010 store concept, launched at Birmingham's Bullring in September last year. The store will feature a large glass-fronted restaurant on the top floor, with views towards Exeter Cathedral.

As well as the Debenhams outlet, the 530,000 sq ft (49,235 sq m) mixed-use Princesshay scheme will also include two major stores measuring about 44,000 sq ft (4,085 sq m) and 38,000 sq ft (3,530 sq m) respectively, as well as more than 60 shop units ranging in size from 365 sq ft (35 sq m) to more than 12,500 sq ft (1,160 sq m).

Enabling works are now under way. The main contractor will start on site in February next year, with completion due in autumn 2007.

Now that Debenhams has decided to relocate into the scheme, a feasibility study is being carried out into the redevelopment of its existing Exeter store on Sidwell Street.

Debenhams property director Jim Murphy said: 'In our new location at Princesshay, we are looking forward to providing the city with a 21st century department store.'