The £5bn King’s Cross Central development is seeking “unique” concept stores, and international and independent retailers ahead of its opening in 2018.
The 67-acre scheme around London’s King’s Cross and St Pancras station, which is being developed by the King’s Cross Partnership, led by Argent, and counts Google among its future tenants, will have 50 retail units and restaurants beneath offices, and 2,000 homes.
There will be a further 60 stores in the main shopping area, Coal Drops Yard.
The split-level “coal drops” were created in the 1850s to transfer coal from rail wagons to road carts, and were later transformed into workshops, studios and nightclubs.
Peter Courtney, agent for property firm Lunson Mitchenall, which is acting for the King’s Cross Partnership, said: “It will be quite a diverse retail space, with new retail builds and the Coal Drops Yard, an old Victorian space renovated into a split-level shopping street.
“We have had huge interest from lots of different retailers. We are looking for indies and specialist retailers, as well as brands shoppers will have heard of before.
“We’re not focusing on big high street names, as there are lots of areas nearby that do that very well and we need to be different.”
He added: “If there are some better-known retailers, they need to do something unique and completely different to anything they have done before for the Coal Drops Yard.
“We also want to bring in new names and big international names.”
French multi-brand store Merci is understood to be making its UK debut in a 15,000 sq ft store in Coal Drops Yard.
It is expected to stock some of the brands it sells in France, including Comme des Garçons, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Maison Margiela.
The government put its 36.5% stake in King’s Cross Central on sale this week. It is expected to raise £360m.
The government’s decision to sell its stake in the project was announced in July’s budget as part of a plan to raise £3bn through asset sales to cut the deficit.
Property agent Savills and investment bank Lazard are handling the sale. Prospective buyers must register their interest before September 7.
Logistics company DHL is also selling its 6% stake.
Other shareholders include Australian pension company AustralianSuper, which holds a 25% stake, and Argent, which, together with Hermes Investment Management, owns 32.5%.