John Lewis has agreed to anchor the 1.7m sq ft Edinburgh St James development after settling a disagreement with the city’s council.
John Lewis had reportedly warned that it could quit the city over plans to curtail its trading space during work to redevelop the £850m retail and leisure scheme.
But the department store group will anchor the development from a fully refurbished unit and will continue trading during the construction of the new-look centre, which will create up to 85 shops and 30 restaurants.
Developer TH Real Estate secured planning approval for the scheme back in July, with a central hotel given the green light in August. Construction work to revamp the site is expected to get under way early next year.
John Lewis property director Jeremy Collins 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.”
TH Real Estate director of development Martin Perry 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.”