Tesco abandons plans to convert Croydon’s in Ipswich town centre into supermarket
Supermarket giant Tesco has pulled out of plans to convert the former Croydon’s jewellers in Tavern Street Ipswich into a small supermarket.
But it still owns the lease on the store which it is now trying to sell on to another retailer.
However the rent and rates for one of the most prominent buildings in town are likely to put off many potential occupiers, according to John Norman from the Ipswich Society.
A spokesman for Tesco confirmed that the although the company had signed a long-term lease on the store within the last year, it was now looking to offload the site.
He said: “We are in the process of marketing our site on Tavern Street, Ipswich and will be sure to keep the local community updated.”
The lease is understood to have many years remaining on it, but the spokesman said if a long-term tenant did want to take over the site it should be possible to extend this even further.
Mr Norman, who is chairman of the Ipswich Society, said Croydon’s was built in about 1930 and is not listed even though an attempt to get it put on English Heritage’s register of historic buildings was made a few years ago.
He said: “We were not opposed to Tesco taking over part of the store because it was bringing it back into use. Because of the cost of the site, we have to accept it is probably only a major national retailer who could afford to rent it.”
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Mr Norman said he understood the rent for the shop was about £90,000 a year and the business rates were about three quarters of that amount again (£68,000).
That meant the total cost of taking on the store would be nearly £160,000 before any salary costs were taken into consideration.
Mr Norman said: “That means you have to be a large company with a considerable turnover before you can consider taking a store like this on – it isn’t something for an independent retailer seeking to sell Elvis memorabilia!”
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “Obviously this decision is part of a wider property review by Tesco, however it is still disappointing that the investment in this prominent building will not be going ahead.
“I hope an alternative use for it can soon be found and that it is not left empty for a long time.”