Birmingham is set to be home to a new flagship department store as the construction of a John Lewis outlet has gotten underway.

Principal contractor Mace is taking on the job, which is part of the overall redevelopment of the UK's second city's New Street train station. The facility has been at the centre of regeneration plans in recent years and will help one of the busiest stations in the UK improve facilities for passengers. The plans will also include a major renovation of the adjoining Pallasades shopping centre, of which Mace will work closely with Network Rail to improve the facilities on the approach to the Midlands train station, the Construction Enquirer reports.

Work on the Pallasades got underway in 2011, with the demolition of the Stephenson Tower in early 2012 paving the way for the new John Lewis store. The new 250,000 sq ft facility will provide a new retail hub in the centre of Birmingham and will be ready in time for the updated Pallasades development in 2014.

The development will mean that New Street station will be open to the city from its south side for the first time in its history. It will give passengers another entrance to the station that could potentially reduce congestion at peak times and will also help to boost the city's financial growth.

Mark Reynolds, deputy chief executive at Mace said: "We are excited to have started work with the John Lewis Partnership on the south side of the Birmingham New Street project.

"It marks the achievement of another major milestone for the project while also commencing something which is, on its own, greatly rewarding for the city of Birmingham."

The Midlands city has recently been subject to a number of regeneration projects, with the Digbeth area coming under the spotlight as major work is being carried out to improve the suburb. Balfour Beatty recently landed the contract to redevelop the city's Post & Mail building as part of £90 million project.

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