Shops ready at Easter

St James Quarter confirms delayed opening date

Slowly unwrapped: The distinctive W Hotel at St James

Edinburgh’s new St James Quarter expects to welcome its first shoppers next Easter, following a six month delay due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Despite the downturn it remains confident of letting the 80 shop units which will be complemented by a 244-bedroom W hotel with its distinctive “ribbon” exterior – due to open in 2022 – and a 75-room Roomzzz Aparthotel.

Daily Business revealed earlier this year that St James would not meet its planned opening date in October when it had hoped to welcome Christmas shoppers.

Martin Perry, director of development for the project said the cost of that is “not completely quantifiable” though it will run into “many millions of pounds”.

“There are some additional construction costs,” he said. “And if you delay a project of this sort for six months you’ve lost six months’ worth of income from rents, etc, lost six months of turnover and you have to pay your whole team’s salaries for an extra six months – but everyone is in the same boat.

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“We have about 74% of spaces contracted with seven months to go until opening. We’re fairly confident we’ll get the remaining space contracted before then.”

The only trader which will not take up its unit is the restaurant chain Yo Sushi, which ran into financial trouble during lockdown.

Newly-released details reveal that the third level of the development’s underground car park has been designed with theatre lighting and sound to accommodate shows.

There will be nine event spaces set to host a variety of pop-up fashion and music shows. An events programme is being created for next year’s festival time, with up to 27 shows a day.

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