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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 14:23 GMT
New 75m shopping centre for Ayr
Ayr Central
Debenhams is the first store to open at Ayr Central
The first phase of a 75m shopping centre hailed as the biggest development in Ayr in a century has opened in the seaside town.

Ayr Central aims to make the town the fifth strongest retail destination in Scotland, create 400 jobs and attract 240,000 shoppers a week.

The opening of Ayr Central's first department store marks the completion of the shopping complex.

It signals the six-year transformation of derelict land in the town centre.

During summer months, Ayr Central is expected to attract 300,000 people.

'Landmark development'

Henry Boot Developments described it as "one of the UK's most innovative retail developments".

It uses natural Scottish materials, including Caithness slab and red sandstone.

Alan Kinloch from the developers said: "Ayr Central is the single biggest influencing factor to affect Ayr in over 100 years.

"The impact of this development will be felt for several decades."

The anchor store Debenhams is now open.

It will be joined by other high street retailers including Next, H&M and Primark.

HMV, Hallmark Cards, Subway and Costa Coffee will also join.

It houses a new town centre open air square.

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan said: "The new Ayr Central shopping centre is a landmark development and we are confident that it will shape the town centre for years to come."

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