A MARKS & Spencer food shop is to be the anchor store at the new Edinburgh Accies development in Stockbridge.
Raeburn Place Foundation announced it had secured Marks & Spencer Simply Foods Limited as the anchor tenant for the £16 million development.
The retail giant will take over three of the nine shop units to be built at the site, where planning permission has been granted for a rugby pitch, 2500-seater stand, bars, shops and a museum.
The store, fronting onto Comely Bank Road, will total 500 square metres.
The foundation described the M&S agreement as “a huge vote of confidence in the development”.
A marketing drive will now be launched for the remaining units, but it is understood a number of retailers have already lodged notes of interest.
Construction work was due to start this summer, but was pushed back until next May after club chiefs fell short of the money needed to start building.
More than £2.5m out of a target of £7.7m had been secured by June, with a further £500,000 in commitments.
But the foundation said despite good progress, it was not enough to enable them to proceed with the start of work as originally planned.
In September, the foundation announced the appointment of professional fundraiser Sally-Anne Hunter as their new capital appeal director to spearhead efforts to make up the shortfall.
A residents’ “Save Stockbridge” group, which has described the development as “totally alien”, failed in its bid to stop alcohol being sold until 1am.
Earlier this year the Evening News revealed how a legal dispute had erupted over a narrow two-foot strip of land running in front of the development where the shops are to be built.
Historic records revealed the thin slice of land, which used to lie directly under the demolished wall and forms a key access point to the Accies development, is actually owned by the nearby Grange Cricket and Sports Club.
The Grange club was advised the “ransom strip” could be worth as much as £1m. It has launched a legal action against the city council, to try and force it to rebuild the demolished wall.
But the foundation has argued ownership of the strip is “irrelevant” because it has been adopted as part of the road network.
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