Historic Debenhams building goes up for rent
- Credit: Brown & Co
The former Debenhams store in King's Lynn has gone up for rent, stripped of all its stock, after closing down for good.
The impressive building over three floors on the site of the former 'Harrods' of the town, Jermyn & Sons, is available to rent for a price on application. The owners are, however, prepared to divide it up to new tenants.
It comes as Debenhams, bought out by Boohoo after going into administration, reopened its store in Norwich for a closing down sale.
The King's Lynn Debenhams closed down permanently last year. Agent's pictures show a few remnants of what was a much-loved department store, however. These include a couple of shop mannequins still in position and old signage for the Quiz brand and the store cafe.
Debenhams buildings across the UK are up for sale or rent because the Boohoo deal did not include stores nor staff meaning thousands of jobs were lost. And the buildings, once ideal for such a massive department store, are now available. In Norwich, the Debenhams building, owned by an Irish property magnate, in Orford Place is for sale or rent.
The Debenhams building in King's Lynn, 10-16 High Street, situated on 0.8 of an acre could "easily be sub divided into bespoke units for end user requirements and may also suit alternative uses," states agents Brown & Co.
John Weston, associate partner, said already interest had been shown for using 9,000 sqft of the building. "The high street is undergoing change and we will see more leisure operations, but it's not the end of retail.
"People do get frustrated with shopping online and want the experience of going into a shop. There is also more opportunity for local businesses to get back into the high street, many were forced out by larger players. Rents have come down."
In King's Lynn, the high street has particularly suffered throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with other big names such as Burton and Dorothy Perkins also closing. Owners of independent furniture retailer Artertons also recently announced they were planning to retire, putting up that building for rent after 30 years.
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Meanwhile members of King's Lynn and West Norfolk council’s regeneration and development panel have discussed how to bring back people into the town.
Chairwoman Judy Collingham recently said towns would have to focus on becoming destinations rather than simply retail and there was some talk that the Debenhams building could become an indoor market.
A London-based investment firm Starlow Investments, owns the building. It bought it for £1.1m.
Debenhams took over from a well-known department store in the town, Jermyn & Sons which dates to the late 1800s.
Charles Perry, the first president of the West Norfolk Chamber’s predecessor, the King’s Lynn Trader’s Association, was a partner in drapers Jermyn & Perry from 1890.
In 1891 he was president of the town’s YMCA and in 1910 he was Mayor of King’s Lynn.
But the store, originally based in a magnificent building, burned down on December 27, 1897 after some Christmas decorations caught fire.
The store was rebuilt and partner, Alfred Jermyn, who was knighted in 1919, took over the business in 1927 and it was renamed Jermyn & Sons.