A Midlands city is seeing its biggest retail sell-off in more than three decades after a landmark department store was put on the market with a reported price tag of £2.5m.
The Heart of England Co-operative Society — one of the country’s oldest surviving co-operative societies — has confirmed it is disposing of its store in Coventry’s Corporation Street as part of a six-month “evaluation exercise”.
Agents Harris Lamb and Bruton Knowles have already been instructed to market the 136,178 sq ft department store and associated Lower Precinct properties. The main store has three sales floors, along with basement and third floor offices and storage space. The Lower Precinct unit has three floors.
The 50-year-old property is likely to be of interest to developers for conversion or investors looking to add value to the site. It is being offered, for sale or rent, either as single unit or broken down into individual retail premises.
“This is an exciting opportunity for investors or developers to take on a large, prime retail opportunity in Coventry city centre,” said David Walton, head of retail at Harris Lamb.
“The store fronts both the Lower Precinct, the city’s prime pedestrianised shopping location, and Corporation Street and has prime retail frontages which rarely become available on this scale … This is one of the biggest retail spaces to become available in the city for 30 years.”
One of Coventry’s best known department stores, it has for much of its half-century become just as famous for its legendary Christmas grotto and Santa’s sleigh ride.
“People who have experienced it at some point in their lives travel from all over the world to let their own children feel the same magic,” explained general manager, Bryan Wheatley. “Every year we get one couple from Germany — they started bringing their children and now they bring their grandchildren.”
Meanwhile, the builders’ merchant Travis Perkins is awaiting planning consent for a new facility at Coventry’s 93-acre Whitley Business Park.
A planning application to build a regional distribution centre — which will serve local branches and trade customers and employ up to 300 staff — has been submitted to Coventry City Council.
David Penn, the managing director of commercial agents Shortland Penn + Moore admitted that improvements to access road around the former Jaguar Land Rover site had also helped to attract the firm. “Whitley Business Park has attracted strong interest over the years, but now we have a genuine commitment to invest and create hundreds of jobs here,” he added.
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