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Edinburgh St James Quarter plans can have major impact on the Capital

Car Hire Edinburgh Airport will be telling all car hire customers to head to this shopping development once it is complete if it is as impressive as the initial talk suggests it will be. 

The plans for the new St James Quarter in Edinburgh can have the same type of impact that the Bullring complex had on Birmingham according to one of the leading retail experts.

The revamp to the area of Edinburgh is like the one in Birmingham in 2003 which was a behind the times area turned into one of Britain’s popular shopping destinations, attracting up to 36.5 million visitors a year.

Professor Leigh Sparks, of the Institute of Retail Studies at Stirling University, said, “There are interesting similarities with the Birmingham Bullring which was in the city centre and redeveloped in a very dramatic and interesting way. The Bullring was dated and a single use complex – shopping. It was dark and pretty unpleasant for a while and was showing its age,” he said. If you saw the original Bullring towards the end of its lifespan there are massive similarities to the St James Centre now.”

Even with his perceived optimism for the development, he was reserved about it trying to overtake Glasgow, Prof Sparks added, “Rather than thinking about trying to leapfrog Glasgow, Edinburgh ought to be thinking about becoming a great retail destination in its own right. The Birmingham analogy is what Edinburgh is aspiring to.”

While chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, John Donnelly, said “You simply can’t overestimate the economic benefit that this £850m investment is going to bring to Edinburgh. It’s an incredibly positive development and one that is going to have significant repercussions for decades to come. Edinburgh has so much going for it to attract visitors and our residents into the city centre. From our beautiful architecture, thriving restaurants and world famous attractions, this development feels like another important piece in the puzzle, enhancing the variety and quality of the Capital’s retail offering to a new level that we can be really proud of.”