Crowds flock in after the opening
Doors open at Princesshay
Thousands of shoppers swarmed to Exeter city centre for the official opening of the £230 mllion Princesshay quarter.
The years of waiting were finally over, when Exeter's £230 million Princesshay scheme was officially opened to the public.
The Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Hazel Slack, cut the ribbon at 9.30am on 20 September 2007 to declare the shopping quarter open.
Then, just before 10am, the barrier ropes were taken down and shoppers headed straight for the stores.
The Lord Mayor, Cllr Hazel Slack, cuts the ribbon
Plans for the development were unveiled six years ago, and it's a dream come true for city leaders who have feared Exeter was being left behind.
Princesshay is home to 60 shops, cafes and restaurants - including 36 new names to Exeter.
Some 95% of the scheme was let in time for the opening, and most of the stores will be open ahead of Christmas.
Among the shops is the anchor store, Debenhams, where queues of shoppers waited for the opening at 10am.
The development also features public art, open spaces and new public toilets.
The shop space covers 530,000 square feet, and there are 123 new apartments in Princesshay which it is hoped will also help to breathe new life into the city centre.
Shoppers check out the Princesshay shops
One of the key elements of the project was to open up views to Exeter Cathedral and the city walls - and these views are stunning.
Cllr Slack said Exeter now had a city centre to be proud of: "It's been a rocky road over the past decade or so but we haven't been deterred.
"And look what has emerged - this is a superb development."
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw said the city needed the Princesshay redevelopment: "It's very exciting for the city," he told BBC Devon.
"It will create jobs and bring retailers to the city.
"We were losing customers to Plymouth and Taunton and this will bring Exeter back up the shopping league.
"It's nice and open and the cafe culture brings new life to the city centre. And we've now got nice views to the Cathedral and city walls.
"It combines Exeter's history with modernity. I think it's very impressive."
Princesshay manager, Sally Henley, said Exeter was now a great place to shop: "We believe the irresistible range of shopping, restaurants and cafes, together with the heritage city location, will be a big draw for shoppers and visitors."
The developers are Land Securities and the contractors are Sir Robert McAlpine. The architects were Chapman Taylor, Panter Hudspith, and Wilkinson Eyre.
last updated: 03/10/07
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