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£850m plan will be 'stunningly new'

How the revamped St James will give Edinburgh a fresh retail face

St James 1Early glimpses have emerged of how the £850 million redevelopment of the St James quarter in Edinburgh will transform the city.

The artist’s impressions show three views of how the unloved shopping centre will be rebuilt and blend more sympathetically with the east end of Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, though some may still find the square glass and stone boxes disappointingly dull.

Allan Murray Architects said the development will “offer something stunningly new” when TH Henderson Real Estate’s transforms the area. Work is due to begin in September.

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The practice is behind some of the most high profile projects in the city, including the Caltongate, now New Waverley development, the new Boroughmuir high school in Fountainbridge and the Edinburgh Bioquarter.

Stunning aerial images of the development have already been issued, showing a curved under-cover main crescent that will create a completely new layout while echoing the designs in the Georgian New Town. Only the John Lewis store will remain in place during redevelopment.

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Letting agency Savills says the new St James will shift the shopping hub eastwards following other changes in recent years. Harvey Nichols at the head of fashionable Multrees Walk will be at the centre of a new axis from Jenners to St James, with the other new development at St Andrew Square also in the mix. It will be home to a large TK-Maxx.

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The St James Centre, now in single ownership for the first time, will be redeveloped around recreated pedestrianised streets, squares and buildings with a widened James Craig Walk and a drum-shaped central hotel.

A new facade will welcome visitors via Elder Street, the bus station and the multi-storey car park.

The core area will house cafes and restaurants while surrounding buildings, including St Mary’s Cathedral, will be integrated into the development.

Leith Street, currently dominated by the King James Thistle Hotel, will be given a new look that will restore shops to the ground level.

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What do you think of the new look St James area? Do you like the architecture? The design? The concept? Leave your comments below.


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