A DEAL rumoured to be brining Primark to the city centre is due to be completed imminently according to the new owners of the Coppergate Centre.

The Press revealed last year the budget retailer had been eyeing up a move to the former Marks & Spencer site, which was vacated earlier this year.

Now Coppergate's new management team has revealed a deal is in the final stages with an "exciting, renowned high street retailer", marking a "coup for the city".

The city centre retail hub, previously owned by LaSalle, is now operated by Glasgow property investment specialist Cogent, with management agent Capita.

Sue Anderson Brown, the newly appointed Coppergate Centre manager, said: "There are definitely exciting developments with regards to the M&S site.

"We are in the final stages of completing a deal with a very exciting, renowned high street retailer, that will be a real coup not just for the Coppergate Centre but for York city centre."

A previous planning application submitted by LaSalle, which named Primark as the company looking to take over the building in a move set to create 170 jobs, was granted in July last year, giving the go-ahead for a new top floor and the extension of other floors in the building.

As well as taking the city centre site, which has been empty since Marks & Spencer moved to the new £90 million Vangarde development in April, Primark is also expected to be opening a store at Monks Cross after councillors approved plans to extend one of the units, also vacated by Marks & Spencer in favour of Vangarde. However Primark has said it will not comment on speculative developments.

Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: "It has been recognised for some time that this is an important area for retail to underpin the city centre offering.

"The council has been working hard with interim partners to secure a tenant to the former Marks & Spencer site and I am positive about an announcement being made soon.

"The council is committed to city centre retail and expanding its offering."

Mrs Anderson Brown said she is also confident of finding a new tenant for the former Jane Norman unit, due to its "prime location".

She said: "It's an exciting time for the centre as we take a fresh look at the opportunities. It's about positive development, and all options are being considered.

"We will have a total appraisal of how we can take the scheme forward and put the centre back on the map.

"It isn't about just talking about things, we are about doing things. We are here to make things happen again for this scheme and put the centre back in its rightful place as the jewel in the crown of York's city centre. The best is yet to come."