Henderson Global Investors has been granted outline planning consent for it’s £850m St James Quarter development in Edinburgh.

The city council today approved the plans, which involve doubling the size of the retail provision in the 1970s shopping centre near St Andrew’s Square to 1m sq ft which can accommodate 90 stores.

Proposals for the building, known as one of Edinburgh’s ugliest, also include 160,000 sq ft of offices, 250 apartments and two new hotels.

Myles White, fund manager of Henderson’s UK Shopping Centre Fund, said: ‘Despite the challenging economic environment, this important regeneration project will create a revitalised shopping quarter for the city and offer an attractive long term investment opportunity capable of delivering superior returns for our investors.’

Henderson bought the centre and the neighbouring New St Andrew’s House office development in May 2006 from Irish company Donegall Place Investors for £184m.

Edinbugh council leader Jenny Dawe said: ‘This shows we can work positively with investors to create cutting-edge retail and housing projects, which fit well with our historic and beautiful city centre. We have ambitious plans for Edinburgh, and the new St James Quarter due for completion in 2016, will play an important part in these.’

The scheme is being master-planned by BDP and Allan Murray Architects.