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Chipperfield to revamp Edinburgh’s ‘Harrods of the North’

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David Chipperfield Architects has been picked by Danish retail billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen to transform the famous Jenners store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street

The historic 1895 building, designed by William Hamilton Beattie, was sold two years ago to the owner of the fashion group Bestseller for £53 million.

Jenners was Scotland’s oldest independent department store, with its origins dating back to 1838, before it was bought by Mike Ashley’s House of Fraser for £46.1 million in 2005.

It is understood the 17,000m² building at 47-52 Princes Street will be converted into a hotel plus cafés, shops and a rooftop restaurant and bar.

According to reports in the local press, the project’s plans include a total restoration of the Category A-listed building’s façade, reinstating lost original details.

It is unclear what the plans will mean for the Jenners name on the building – Jenners is currently the leaseholder – with reports claiming the store could relocate to another city-centre location.

However Holch Povlsen said: ’It´s important to underline that our plans do not mean closing down Jenners. Our project is to strengthen the Jenners Building. The iconic Jenners Building will always stay and is the very DNA of our plans. In the same way as the department store is a vital future part of the project.

’We have a constructive dialog and coordination with the present tenant about how this is done in the best manner. We have up until now done our utmost to let the tenant stay in the building by offering them favourable terms. If they should end up not wanting to continue, it is unfortunately not our decision.’

He added: ‘We have an important task in terms of ensuring the future of the property. In the long term, we hope to be able to lift the property to the level of the past and find partners who will protect and enhance the beauty and standing of the Jenners Building on Princess Street.’

Work is not expected to start on site until 2021.

David Chipperfield has experience working in the retail sector and in revamping historic department stores. Last year the practice completed the remodelling of the famous Selfridges Store in Oxford Street (completed in 1909).


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