Debenhams Bristol: Potential buyer looking at a ‘various options’ for landmark site

Debenhams in Broadmead closed in May this yearDebenhams in Broadmead closed in May this year
Debenhams in Broadmead closed in May this year | BristolWorld
Mayor Marvin Rees has reported back from a meeting with the potential buyer

The potential buyer of the former Debenhams store in Bristol is still looking at a ‘various options’ for the site, according to city mayor Marvin Rees.

Mr Rees met with representatives from the unidentified party to start a ‘co-operative relationship’ and share the city council’s future ambitions for the city.

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As BristolWorld revealed last month, a ‘preferred bidder’ has been selected for the purchase of the former six-storey landmark department shop in Broadmead.

The store closed in May, ending nearly 50 years in the city for the chain.

Although no sale has yet gone through, Mr Rees met up with the potential buyer yesterday (November 23).

Speaking on the meeting at a press briefing today, he said: “There’s a whole bunch of options and they [potential buyers for the former Debenhams site] have not many any firm decisions themselves.

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“What they talked to us about was various options and everything you could use a building for are options they are looking at using a building for.”

Mr Rees added: “We know we have had too much retail space in the city in the past anyway and with the shifts in buying patterns, that has brought more pressures and brought a number of decisions of the retail outlets to a head.

“Broadmead will be different - it will be more a mix of retail, residential and destination because that’s what it needs to be to survive.

“When people come to talk to us, those are the conversations that we have as we reinvent Broadmead so it does become that new thing to survive into the future.”

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Bristol is committed to delivering 17 sustainable development goals, which include combating poverty, bringing affordable and clean energy and action against climate change.

Mr Rees said hoped the potential buyers would help the city achieve those goals.

Last month, the agents managing the sale of the site, Cushman and Wakefield, said there had been interest from groups looking at mixed uses, including residential, for the site.

Nick Allen, from the company, said the purchase represented a ‘great opportunity to reposition the property for the city’.

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And last week, Vivienne Kennedy, manager of Broadmead Business Improvement District (BID), said a multi-use proposal for the site which included homes could be a positive move for the city centre.

The closure of Debenhams was followed by the announcement in October that M&S will close its Broadmead store early next year.

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