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Foreign Office reveals what's in store for Leicester

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Foreign Office Architects (FOA) has been picked to design a new 22,000m 2flagship department store for John Lewis in Leicester.

The practice is one of five architectural teams chosen to mastermind a £350 million retail-led, mixed-use development in the centre of the city.

FOA will also be responsible for designing two new footbridges and a 3,000-seat, 12-screen cinema on the scheme's main public square.

Masterplanned by Chapman Taylor Architects, the massive redevelopment will cover 10 ha and will stretch between the existing Shires shopping centre and Vaughan Way.

Elsewhere, Glenn Howells Architects is set to draw up plans for four residential buildings and Gollifer Langston will design all the public space and a new 2,000-space car park.

Meanwhile, local firm rg+p Leicester has been appointed as the conservation architect and will convert three listed buildings, including the Free Grammar School, into restaurants.

The project is being backed by developers Hammerson and Hermes and is expected to open its doors to the public in 2008.

Jon Emery, Hammerson's development director, said: 'The comprehensive mix of uses and our desire to create a truly vibrant environment led us to conclude that a mix of architectural styles and a variety of skills was essential.

'The five architectural firms were selected after a lengthy assessment process and together they form a very strong design team.'

by Richard Waite

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