Grimwades work done - now tenant needed for Ipswich Cornhill site
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 03 August 2019
Work to prepare the former Grimwades store on Ipswich Cornhill for a new use is now complete - all that is now needed is a tenant to want to move in.
The owner of the store decided to go ahead and complete the structural makeover to the store despite Pret a Manger pulling out of its proposed arrival in the town earlier this year.
Now he is looking for another tenant - a shop, cafe, or takeaway - to move into the prime site which overlooks the remodelled Cornhill.
And to provide a tantalising glimpse of what used to be on offer there, the team who have prepared the building found the wall menu for the former Grimwades Coffee Shop that closed along with the rest of the store in the early 1990s.
However the owner of the building, David Revill, warned that it was still proving very difficult to find a tenant in the current conditions.
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He said: "No-one is lined up at this time. The market is as hard as I have ever known it - caught between Brexit and online retailing."
The former department store was occupied by Clinton Cards for several years after Grimwades closed its doors in 1996.
However the firm closed the Ipswich store when it was restructured in 2012. Since then it has been home to a few short-term pop-up fashion stores but until last year's proposal for Pret to come to town, there was no plan for a long-term tenant.
It was announced last year that Pret was planning to take on the unit, and work started to prepare the site in the autumn. The company started recruiting for staff.
However work on the unit did not resume after the Christmas break and at the end of January Pret confirmed it was no longer planning to move into the town.
In June builders moved back in to carry out more work - but Mr Revill said this was to make the unit more attractive for a potential tenant, although no-one has agreed to move in at present.
The site had been seen as ideal for a company like Pret because it faces the refurbished Cornhill, giving customers somewhere to eat their sandwiches and salads outside during the spring and summer months. It could yet become home to another takeaway or cafe if an operator can be found to take on what is considered to be one of the most prominent sites in the town centre.