The former JR Taylor building in St Annes has made available for sale for the first time – at offers over a cool £1million.
The major change in the circumstances of its availability, more than four years after the landmark department store closed its doors, follows the resolution of a legal dispute between its owners and previous tenants, preventing any new business opening in the premises.
The St Annes Enterprise Partnership has greeted the change – after no apparent interest in the ‘To Let’ signs attached to the empty building since it closed in January 2015 – as a ‘major milestone’.
Now, it is hoped the building will be at the forefront of the regeneration of the town centre which is being backed by Fylde MP Mark Menzies
He said: “I’m very pleased to hear this legal row finally appears to have been resolved.
“A lot of people want to see a new shop in that building, but will not have been aware of the legal situation which prevented its sale, and which prevented anyone helping get a new business in.
“The JR Taylor store is the biggest unit in St Annes and filling it will help attract more businesses to the town.
“I hope this now presents us with the opportunity to kick start the regeneration of St Annes town centre.
“By that I mean getting more empty shop and restaurant units filled with businesses which will attract more people into St Annes.
“We have already held an initial meeting to look at future changes which will help improve St Annes; JR Taylors being taken over by new business will be a huge boost.
“St Annes is a great town; we now have a real opportunity now to work together and ensure it is regenerated.”
The former store building at the corner of St Annes Square and Garden Street is for sale for the seven-figure sum through Blackpool-based estate agents Duxbury’s Commercial - and spokesman Adam Taylor said there had already been interest.
“The situation has meant we have not been able to fully market the building but now the new circumstances apply, we have already had inquiries,” he said.
“The site is a very prestigious one and we are asking for offers over £1m. I am looking forward to speaking to anyone interested.”
Colin Ballard, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic news and a major milestone that the town really looks forward to capitalising on.
“It’s a wonderful building in such a prominent location and we eagerly await someone taking it over.
“It offers a wealth of possibilities and this is a really exciting development after so many years of it lying empty.”
Arnold Sumner, long-serving co-ordinator of the St Annes Chamber of Trade said: “How wonderful that there could finally be some movement on new life for the building.
“Its future is still up in the air but this means the air is so much clearer - and at offers over £1m, I think it is an absolute bargain. I am sure there will be plenty of interest.”
Richard Berry, the building’s owner, said: “I am delighted we have been able to resolve the legal dispute and I am looking forward to a great deal of interest in the site.
“It is one of the most popular locations on the high street, and it will be great to see the building being used once again by residents and visitors in St Annes.”
Fylde Council chief executive Allan Oldfield said: “We have been looking forward to seeing the site becoming available for a new opportunity after four years of being empty, and we are confident there will be a great deal of interest.
“St Annes town centre offers a wide range of leisure and shopping facilities, and we look forward to seeing the building add to this offer.”
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