Grosvenor and Lend Lease are in advanced talks with two further pre-let anchor tenants at the joint venture's £600m Tithebarn scheme in Preston city centre.
A retailer for the second anchor store of between 150,000 sq ft and 200,000 sq ft is due to exchange contracts with the developers in early May. The identity of the retailer is being closely guarded but rumours include a relocated Marks & Spencer or a Tesco Extra.
Talks are also progressing with the cinema operator for a multiplex of at least eight screens. The operator is understood not to be Odeon, despite its inclusion in Grosvenor's imminent £1bn Liverpool One scheme. The remaining favourite would be Odeon's main rival Vue. Place understands heads of terms have been agreed and detailed design work is currently being carried out ahead of an exchange of contracts in around three months' time.
A statement issued today by the joint venture, called Preston Tithebarn Partnership, said: "The Preston Tithebarn Partnership is dedicated to securing quality retailers to take space in the Tithebarn development and PTP is currently in negotiation with various big name retailers. As soon as decisions regarding lettings have been agreed, a statement will be issued, although understandably, PTP is not in a position to confirm the identity of the retailers until legal formalities have been completed.
"The planning application will be submitted in the autumn following the consultation process, which is due to commence in Preston shortly."
John Lewis is already signed up as the first anchor name at the 1.6m sq ft scheme, long overdue according to many Preston residents, and will be taking a 230,000 sq ft store.
Debenhams, the second anchor in Liverpool One, already has a presence, at the Fishergate centre and is unlikely to move.
Tithebarn will cover 28 acres, comprising the two anchor stores, a further 85 new shops, 20 restaurants, a refurbished market, the cinema, 550 new homes, a health and fitness centre and 2,700 car parking spaces.
Cushman & Wakefield is agent for Tithebarn. The scheme is being masterplanned by architect Terry Farrell & Partners.