New owners looking to redevelop Debenhams site in Ipswich
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
The soon-to-be vacated Debenhams store in Ipswich could be converted to offer retail units on the ground floor and housing above, it has been revealed.
The building was bought by East Anglian property giant Unex Group for just over £3m last week. Now managing director Adrian Morris has said they were looking to how it might be developed.
He said: "We are currently exploring various options and the possibilities of using one floor of circa 50,000 sq ft for a use that would fall within the Town Deal for regeneration of High Streets for which Ipswich Borough Council were successful in their application for a grant of £25 million for such a purpose."
It is thought that the ground floor could be retained for retail or other commercial uses with upper floors possibly converted into town centre flats - but no firm plans have yet been discussed.
Ipswich Central Chief Executive Paul Clement, who has worked with Unex many times, said he hoped to talk to the company about the future of the building once the sale had been completed after the store closes to the public for the last time on May 4.
Unex Group was founded by multi-millionaire racehorse owner and breeder Bill Gredley who remains chairman of its board.
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It is based in Stetchworth, near Newmarket, and has led a number of major redevelopment projects in Cambridge and London as well as elsewhere in the region.
The company redeveloped Fraser House and Maple Court on Princes Street in Ipswich.
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Mr Clement said there were other properties facing on to Lloyds Avenue that were being developed - and he hoped that Unex would look at creating some business that opened on to this street to give it an extra buzz.
There have been suggestions that the Ipswich Oasis Project could help to make the bottom of Lloyds Avenue a "pocket park" with new green area for visitors and local residents.