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Allan Murray and BDP win St James's Centre

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October 5 2006

Henderson Global Investors, the owner of Edinburgh's St James Shopping Centre, has commissioned Building Design Partnership and Allan Murray Architects to design a comprehensive redevelopment scheme for the infamous city centre site. The two firms were selected from a short list of six architects.

Built in 1973, the shopping centre (450,000 sq ft) and the office block (240,000 sq ft) have been consistently dubbed as Edinburgh's 'most ugly' building. The demolition  and regeneration of the site has been made possible because both buildings are held by the same owner. Henderson purchased the St James Shopping Centre earlier this year from Irish investor Donegal Place Investments for £184 million.

Myles White, the Henderson Shopping Centre Fund Manager, said: "The appointment represents a crucial first step in our plans to create modern retail space within the city centre. The design team will work closely with key stakeholders including the City of Edinburgh Council to ensure the redevelopment provides a major boost to the retail offering."

BDP's involvement in the Paradise Street shopping centre in Liverpool and Allan Murray's work on the Princes Galleries proposal for the EDI placed both practices in a strong position to take on the task. Peter Coleman, director of BDP, said: "The concept of the enclosed shopping mall has evolved in the face of changing retail trends. Customers are demanding a higher quality retail offer and larger range of shops. The St James project will transform the retail core in the city."

This commission represents yet another significant win in Edinburgh for Allan Murray who now has several major projects in the city centre including the controversial Caltongate project. When asked about the potential work load Murray, whose practice is now has 30 staff, said "Our numbers will remain about he same. All of these projects have such long lead in times. This commission means that all of the hard work we have been doing has paid off."

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