Mar 17, 2021
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Hammerson submits plan to turn ex-Debenhams store into homes

Mar 17, 2021

Leicester city centre is to permanently lose a retail landmark with its former Debenhams store set to be converted into over 300 homes for local residents.

Photo: Nigel Taylor

Any chances that the building could remain a retail attraction look to have ended with owner Hammerson submitting plans to convert the Highcross destination into flats to rent.

The submission follows a virtual 10-day public consultation which took place at the end of last year. Feedback on the plans showed over 80% of consultees supporting the proposed regeneration.

Mark Bourgeois, managing director of UK and Ireland at Hammerson, said: “While the structural shift in retail and changing consumer shopping habits have meant that destinations such as Highcross need to adapt their offer and mix of uses, well-connected city centre locations such as this will always be places where people want to be”.

Hammerson has been severely hit by the effects of Covid-19 forcing non-essential stores to close for much of 2020 and into 2021. 

The Bullring and Brent Cross mall owner/operator collected just 41% of rents in Q1 due from a retail sector reeling under enforced closures and lockdown restrictions.

The group said it was owed £61.5 million in rental payments for the first quarter of its financial year, but had only received £28.8 million. During the first weeks of this year to 17 January, Hammerson said it had just a quarter of its UK sites open.

Department store chain Debenhams went into liquidation in December.

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