Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Milestone for new shopping centre

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Watch time delay footage showing the St David's 2 shopping centre being built

Building work at a new shopping centre, which aims to make Cardiff an "international shopping destination", has reached its highest point.

A topping out ceremony was held at the St David's 2 site later to celebrate the milestone - achieved despite the downturn in the economy.

The 675m development will, when joined with the current St David's Centre, cover a third of the city centre.

It will house more than 100 new stores and is on course to open in the autumn.

Guests, including Cardiff council leader Rodney Berman and Lord Mayor councillor Kate Lloyd, climbed 200 steps to unveil a plaque and lay cement on the roof of the development during the ceremony.

They also got a first glimpse of the centre's now complete glass centrepiece Grand Arcade, which runs 205m (676ft) in length from one end of the shopping centre to the other.

it is a chance to step back and take in how much has been achieved so far
Andrew Dudley, project director

It is hoped the new development will transform Cardiff into one of the UK's top five shopping destinations.

When it opens, it will welcome more than 100 new shops, 25 new cafes and restaurants and the luxury Hayes Apartments.

Stores which have been announced so far for include Hugo Boss, Kurt Geiger, Radley, Reiss, Ghost, All Saints and Crabtree & Evelyn, along with Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant.

Andrew Dudley, project director, said: "A topping out ceremony is one of tradition in the construction world but with a project as big as this, it is a chance to step back and take in how much has been achieved so far.

"It also gives us the opportunity to look forward to the autumn when St. David's opens and Cardiff will become an international shopping destination."

Cattle mart

St David's 2 is just one of the shopping centres being built during the economic downturn.

The 100m Eagles Meadow shopping centre opened late in 2008 in Wrexham. Managers claim the development will catapult the town into the UK's top 80 retail destinations.

In Swansea, the former David Evans site - the city's oldest department store which shut in January 2005 - is being transformed into a 30m retail complex, due to open within the next few months.

And work has started at Carmarthen's former cattle mart to create a 50m shopping centre and cinema.

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Watch time delay footage showing St David's 2 shopping centre take shape in three minutes



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