New Debenhams site tenant could be announced in new year

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Town hall chiefs remain hopeful of securing a new tenant for the former Debenhams store in the council-owned Houndshill Shopping Centre in Blackpool.

 

The 70,000 sq ft anchor unit has been empty since the high street chain closed all its stores in May 2021.

Council chiefs say talks have been ongoing with a prospective new tenant but remain tight-lipped over the name.

Alan Cavill, director of communication and regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: “We have a deal with a time frame in place that is agreeable to both parties.”

Blackpool's former Debenhams store

Blackpool’s former Debenhams store

He said it was hoped to complete the deal by the middle of January with an operator whose offer would be “mostly retail”, provided there were no last minute obstacles.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on the council, who has been pressing for answers about the future of the store, said: “It has been empty for a long time and it was the flagship store of the shopping mall, so I hope the council can find a good calibre operator to fill it.

“But it’s a big building and retail is in the dumps at the moment, so they will no doubt have had to put together a sweet deal for anyone.

“It is dragging on a bit and so I hope they can get a deal done as it’s important for the regeneration of Blackpool.”

The three-storey store opened in 2008 as part of a £30m extension to the Houndshill Centre.

The council bought the Houndshill for £47.6m in November 2019 as part of its long-term strategy to revitalise the town centre.

Work has now begun on the £20m second phase of the mall, on the former Tower Street car park, which will include a new Wilko store, a nine screen cinema and restaurants.