If you thought the trams were the only major changes happening in Edinburgh, you were wrong. One of Edinburgh’s most popular shopping malls, St James Center, has just been nominated for a complete renovation, estimated to top a cool £850 million!
The St James Centre at the east end of Edinburgh city centre was completed in 1973, but was almost immediately condemned as an “eyesore” by critics and the public alike. The new St James Quarter site will be developed by TIAA Henderson Real Estate who own it, along with the council and The Scottish Government.
So what does this mean for the Centre, and more importantly, Edinburgh as a whole?
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today’s announcement will transform this area of the capital, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the Scottish economy. Surrounding areas such as Leith Street, Little King Street and Picardy Place are set for major facelifts including creation of a public transport interchange which would entice more tourists and shoppers to the City. It is estimated Edinburgh will become of of the top 5 UK shopping destinations, rivaling Glasgow.
Boasting 42,500 square metres of shopping space over three levels, the development will also include premium office space, an apart-hotel, a theatre and 138 flats with stunning views of the Cityscape. Many new and popular shops are set to join in, among the anticipated arrivals are: Abercrombie and Fitch, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, Nike, Muji, J Crew, Ted Baker, Tom Ford, Sephora, True Religion and 7 for All Mankind. The John Lewis building will remain untouched despite construction work which is due to start next year, running until 2021.
Extended car parking space is set to be added also. With 1800 bays, the new multi-level facility would have space for three times as many cars as the current St James Centre car parks, in a move designed to conveniently accommodate the vast increase in shoppers expected to be drawn to the new shopping and leisure district.
Construction work is expected to start in 2015.