High street retailer John Lewis has moved to reassure Leeds that it remains committed to the city’s proposed Eastgate Quarter development after pulling out of a similar scheme across the Pennines.
The company withdrew from the £700m Tithebarn shopping development in Preston which means the scheme will now have to be scaled down.
It is understood that John Lewis threw in the towel after proposed job losses at BAE Systems were announced in the area, as well as the economic climate.
But John Lewis says it remains committed to taking on the anchor store at Leeds Eastgate and Harewood Quarter scheme which is being developed by Hammerson.
The huge project is set to open in 2015 and will rejuvenate the bottom end of the city centre.
John Lewis has agreed to take on a new 260,000 sq ft store there which will be the anchor shop for the proposed £675m project.
Managing director of John Lewis, Andy Street, is due to speak at Tuesday’s Leeds Chamber Business Lunch, which is sponsored by Hammerson, at the Queens Hotel.
A spokesperson for John Lewis said: “We remain in talks with Hammerson, the developer of the Eastgate Scheme, and the city council to bring our plans for Leeds to fruition.”