Grand Central Birmingham shopping centre opening delay

Grand Central food court Grand Central Birmingham will boast 40 shops and 20 restaurants

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The opening of a refurbished shopping centre above Birmingham New Street station has been delayed until 2015.

The Grand Central Birmingham shopping complex, formerly the Pallasades, had been due to open next autumn as part of a £600m revamp of the station.

Network Rail said since part of the new station concourse had been built, it now had a clearer picture about how long the whole project would take.

It said more than 80% of shop units had already been allocated.

The new centre will boast 40 stores and 20 restaurants including the largest John Lewis store outside London, and will create up to 1,000 jobs, Network Rail said.

It said luxury goods retailer The White Company and beauty and body care shops L'Occitane and Kiehls were the other shops confirmed so far.

'Stunning open atrium'

Deals have also been agreed with nine restaurants including Vietnamese-style eatery, Pho, which is opening its first branch outside London and the South East, it said.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said he "understood and supported" the decision to delay the opening.

"It is disappointing that potential shoppers will have to wait a little longer, but we are determined to work with colleagues on ensuring this is the best opening possible," said Mr Street, who is also chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Network Rail said the decision to open in 2015 had been reached along with Birmingham City Council.

Project director Chris Montgomery said he believed the redevelopment would bring many visitors to the city "for the first time in many years".

"Having reviewed how the centre and the station will work alongside each other, we're confident that a more aligned opening in 2015 will allow customers to experience the full impact of the stunning open atrium design from day one," he said.

'Lots to offer'

Shoppers and commuters in the city have mixed feelings about the development.

Sue Shilson, 40, from Cardiff, said: "A similar development has happened in Cardiff, and I don't think it is a great idea.

"Areas like the Bullring and the Mailbox are already taking people away from the traditional high street, and I think this development will help to do the same."

But Paul Mortimer, 26, from Birmingham, said: "The first impression people are getting of the city when they get off the trains is a bit gloomy.

"I think this development will make people see that Birmingham has lots to offer as soon as you get off the train."

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