John Lewis takes ownership of Birmingham store

By on 26/02/2014 in Leader, News

John Lewis handover L-R Sir Albert Bore, Jeremy Collins, David Higgins, Mark Reynolds

Sir Albert Bore, Jeremy Collins, David Higgins, Mark Reynolds

John Lewis has taken ownership of its new shop in Grand Central Birmingham, an important milestone that marks the end of the construction to the department store.

John Lewis will be the anchor tenant of the Grand Central development at Birmingham New Street station when it opens in 2015, and will be joined by over 40 premium and quality high street stores and more than 20 new concept cafes and restaurants. John Lewis is investing £35million in the new 250,000 sq ft shop, which will be one of the largest outside London, bringing more than 350,000 products including fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and the latest technology.

Unique to John Lewis Birmingham, the design of the four storey shop will reflect fluidity and movement, designed to symbolise the rich jewellery heritage of the city of Birmingham. The walkways and restaurants of Grand Central will continue this theme and will be flooded with natural light from the huge glass atrium which sits high above. The entire shopping centre and station will be wrapped in a mirror-polished stainless steel façade, creating a landmark building in the heart of Birmingham.

Jeremy Collins, property director, John Lewis said: “The handover is a significant milestone for John Lewis Birmingham. We have held an ambition to open in the city for many years. We are looking forward to expanding our reach to customers across the region for the first time, providing them with more convenient access to our inspiring products and great service.

“Our aspiration is for John Lewis Birmingham to become the cornerstone of wider regeneration in the south side of the city centre and to deliver a legacy of real quality and value to the area. We're looking forward to becoming part of the local community.”

David Higgins, outgoing chief executive, Network Rail said: “The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station will transform the experience for the millions of passengers who use the station every year and allow it to handle the ever increasing number of people who choose to travel by train.

“This project is also a great example of how investment in our transport infrastructure can boost the economy. The New Street project will improve the city centre environment in Birmingham, creating new public space to stimulate regeneration and create up to one thousand new jobs for local people.”

Sir Albert Bore, leader, Birmingham city council added: “I am delighted to welcome John Lewis to Birmingham in 2015, who along with the other retailers, cafes and restaurants at Grand Central will complement and enhance the existing shopping and leisure offer we have in Birmingham.

“Many local people, including a number of apprentices have already been involved in the construction of Grand Central. This supports one of our leading priorities: the creation of training, development and employment opportunities for the people within Birmingham. Investments, like the one John Lewis is making in Birmingham, give us the opportunity to help people, particular young people into apprenticeships. I am delighted that John Lewis will also be continuing their work with the Council's Employment Access Team during the store's fit-out phase and indeed, right up to store opening, this builds on the commitment set out in the Jobs and Skills Charter we all signed up to in January 2013.”

Mark Reynolds, chief executive, Mace said: “I am immensely proud of the Mace team, working in partnership with Network Rail, who have worked so hard to reach this significant milestone. Almost half of the John Lewis store is situated on top of an existing concrete structure and coupled with having to keep the station operational, it has been a highly technical project to deliver.”

In 2013 John Lewis, Birmingham City Council and Network Rail signed a Jobs and Skills Charter which will help local people access more than 1,000 new jobs and training opportunities created by the development. The Charter sets out how the organisations will ensure Birmingham's diverse community, including young unemployed people, have access to the opportunities as a result of the development. The John Lewis recruitment campaign will begin in Autumn 2014.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Emma Moran at John Lewis

emma_moran@johnlewis.co.uk

0207 592 6058

0776 469 3503 Shirin Homawala at Mace

Shirin.homawala@macegroup.com

020 3522 3203

0788 109 1396

Mel Evans at Grand Central

Mel.evans2@networkrail.co.uk

07711 600929

Birmingham City Council

Press Office

0121 303 3287

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