Shoppers ready for last day of Debenhams in Ipswich
- Credit: DAVID KINDRED/PAUL GEATER
It is the end of an era as Ipswich Debenhams prepares to close its doors for the last time on Tuesday.
Shoppers have been queuing outside the Cornhill store over the Bank Holiday weekend to grab the last of the stock on offer.
Built in 1975 and opening as Debenhams in 1977, the prominent department store holds many memories for residents and visitors alike.
Question marks had loomed over the Ipswich store since online fashion retailer Boohoo took over Debenhams back in January. The move meant 118 high street shops had to close.
Now, thanks to a £3million sale to new owners Unex Group, headed by racehorse owner William Gredley, it is set to be redeveloped and given a new lease of life.
As reported by this newspaper earlier this week, it is thought the ground floor may be retained for retail or other commercial uses. Upper floors could be converted into town centre flats - but no firm proposals have yet been discussed.
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement has worked with East Anglian property giants Unex many times and said he hoped to discuss future plans with the firm once the sale is finalised.
This is expected to happen once the store closes to the public for the very last time on Tuesday, May 4.
Speaking last week, Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said he was pleased the building had been snapped up by Unex.
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"We haven't heard from them since the purchase - but we are pleased it has been bought by a company that knows the area and has experience of many successful developments," he added.
"We look forward to working with them on the future of this vital building for the town."
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