A £100 MILLION development to create a new shopping area in the centre of Brighton is set to open next month.

The former Hanningtons department store is being transformed into a new Lane.

There will be 13 shops, plush offices, apartments and a new entrance to The Lanes from North Street.

Existing shops on the main road have also undergone a major revamp.

European retail real estate investment manager Redevco started redeveloping the 1.3 acre site in February 2017.

Its portfolio director Andrew Foulds said: “This is something different and it’s full of character.

“It won’t be your conventional high street, we want people to get lost in our new area.

“I believe that we have a captive audience, whether it be commuters, students, academics, tourists and locals.

“I see this as future-proof retail.

“Hanningtons closed down in 2015 and we quickly saw the potential.

“We have been on site for two years and we are creating something unique. I can’t wait for the opening. It’s going to be really exciting for Brighton.”

Once home to the “Harrods of Brighton”, the area links The Lanes, North Laine, East Street and the cultural quarter leading to Brighton beach.

Only two of the 13 shops have so far been let but it appears it won’t be long before more follow.

One has been let to the popular Gingerman Restaurant Group to open a new restaurant. It will be called Flint House.

Andrew said: “I honestly think we could have let this restaurant area five times and we are absolutely thrilled that Gingerman will be coming in.

“It will be a major attraction.

“I am confident we will attract quality independent retailers, including some who I am hoping will be launching their first business out of London.”

Each of the shops will look different with its unique design.

The new Lane will also includes nine offices and 65 apartments to rent.

Equally important has been the changes to the shops in North Street.

One is Habitat, which unveiled its new stand-alone flagship store in November.

Clare Askem, managing director of Habitat, said at the time: “This is our first city centre flagship store for ten years so a really exciting development for Habitat and an example of how we’re evolving store formats and services to suit how customers are shopping for homewares.

“As our digital sales go from strength to strength, we’re also seeing customers who want to shop in an immersive environment and touch and feel the Habitat products we create.

“Our long heritage with Brighton means we have many fans who have been asking us to return with a city centre store, so we felt that to launch our first inspirational flagship environment would really work here.

“Since we’ve opened our doors we’ve had a phenomenal reaction from customers delighted to see us back. We’re now looking forward to making this store a real design hub for Brighton.”

Other shops are also moving into the reconfigured buildings, including the popular Oliver Bonas, which will open in April, and Watches of Switzerland which will be in North Street.

There will also be featured street art within the Lane, including a competition currently being run with the city council.

For the offices, it is hoped that some start-ups will be moving in.

Andrew said: “It is all looking very promising indeed with the shops, offices and apartments.

“Now we are at that crucial stage when it’s all coming together.”

A total of 860 workers have been working on the site with main contractor Westridge. The foundations contain 190 piles which totals more than 2,000 metres.