Grosvenor and Lend Lease's Preston Tithebarn Partnership joint venture has signed Marks & Spencer as the second anchor department store for the 32-acre scheme.
Principal anchor John Lewis signed in November 2007 and rumours have been circulating since the start of this year that a second anchor was imminent. Other names tipped for the 150,000 sq ft store included a Tesco Extra.
The new M&S will be more than double the size of its existing location when it begins trading in 2014.
Anthony Gill, project director of Preston Tithebarn Partnership said: "We are delighted to have secured M&S as the second anchor. Their commitment to Preston Tithebarn underlines our confidence in the scheme and its ability to attract some of the best retailers operating in the UK. We want to create a retail mix that increases choice for local shoppers and attracts people into the city currently favouring other destinations."
Barbara McAlister, Marks & Spencer's Preston Fishergate store manager, said: "The Preston Tithebarn scheme will enable us to further strengthen our offer in Preston with a fresh new shopping environment. The new store will also offer enhanced career opportunities for our current team in Preston, who will be able to transfer to Preston Tithebarn with us in 2014."
The joint venture is also understood to be in advanced talks with a cinema operator, possibly Vue, for another major pre-let.
Tithebarn will total 1.6m sq ft and comprise 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 £700m scheme is being masterplanned by BDP.
A planning application is due to be submitted this autumn.