St James Quarter Bucks Retail Trend when it opens in Edinburgh
With a few rare new malls set to open in Europe this year, Edinburgh St James Quarter weathered the trend this morning by opening its first phase in the Scottish capital, introducing an 850,000 square foot shopping arcade.
But malls are no longer just malls and developer Nuveen Real Estate promises to deliver a major mixed-use program that regenerates a significant part of the city and helps rebalance the strangely unbalanced Princes Street while catapulting Edinburgh to the n ° 8 of the commercial destination. in the UK an embarrassing 13e previously.
This is something that should be welcomed by locals, because despite its enormous tourist attraction (in more normal times) and its plethora of festivals of music, comedy and traditional Scottish culture, the retail offer ‘Edinburgh has been pretty dismal so far. Rival Glasgow is the UK’s second-largest retail destination after London, but Edinburgh has languished and been held back by the odd layout of its main shopping street.
Princes Street may be the city’s main shopping avenue, but it only has shops on one side, with the gardens – leading to the famous Edinburgh Castle – on the other. This makes for a long and not particularly user-friendly stretch, especially given the often disappointing weather in Edinburgh. The St James district gives it a foothold it previously lacked and a few more retail businesses, which the city badly needed.
Thus, the completion of the first phase of the $ 1.4 billion, 1.7 million square feet project promises to create a new lifestyle neighborhood that adds hospitality and residence elements to the retail business. revitalized as they complete in other phases through 2022.
The St James district replaces the Tired shopping center
St James Quarter is both a development and a redevelopment. A tired shopping center stood on the original site, and this one’s former John Lewis main store has been kept and modernized, reopening in May. However, most of what previously existed has been razed to open the site and, once fully opened, the program will include a shopping arcade with 80 retailers, a mix of restaurants, a Bonnie & Wild food hall (which will open in July) , Scotland’s first, the W Edinburgh hotel with 244 rooms, an Everyman Cinema boutique cinema, a Roomzzz aparthotel with 75 residences, 152 residential apartments in Native Land and 1,600 parking spaces.
So far, over 40 retailers have opened this morning, many of which are launching their brand in Scotland for the first time, including & Other Stories, Stradivarius, Bershka, Pull & Bear, H&M, Mango, Next – including its Victoria offering Secret. – Rituals, Tommy Hilfiger, Peloton, Salerno and Nordic Outdoor.
A number of retailers will be launching new concepts including Zara, Superdrug, Breitling, The Body Shop with its first ‘Activist Workshop’ store in Scotland, Lego, as well as IOLLA – introducing an ‘experiential showroom with a garden of interactive test ”. But the feather in the cap is the first fall of H Beauty, a beauty concept from the recently announced Harrods department store group.
Pandemic delays opening
Completing St James Quarter was not the easiest of projects. Located at a World Heritage site, the program started in October 2016, having completed planning in 2009. It was supposed to open last year, but the pandemic did pay for that, so construction and l development were completed under difficult circumstances.
One of the developer’s main ambitions is to bring the St James Quarter onto the cultural circuit and it will have nine event rhythms to accommodate elements of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues and Edinburgh Science Festivals, once that they will be allowed to return.
While there are a few new projects to open in Europe – the most important of which was the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shopping center in the Netherlands earlier this year – the continent’s overall development pipeline is all but depleted, with little appetite for more retail space at a time when most store groups are closing their outlets.
In this way, Edinburgh is an outlier, in the extremely unusual position among major UK cities of being ‘under-marketed’, with poor supply to locals and tourists for a city of its size and popularity in China. as a destination. The importance of neighbor and rival Glasgow as a shopping hotspot has hardly helped, so the project is likely to be warmly received now that it’s finally, even partially, open.
Martin Perry, Director of Development for St James Quarter, admitted: “The impact of the pandemic has of course had a profound impact on retail in the UK. However, retail had to be redesigned long before the pandemic. That’s why we focus on creating a unique experience for our customers.