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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is big, so I wanted to make a thread.


House of Fraser are to close some historic, but importantly, *big* stores in early 2019.


Wolverhampton - Beatties


250,000 sq ft over a huge plot. Includes a multistorey car park, two former department stores, large former Burton store, and a retail arcade that's been reconfigured and knocked through. Also includes large warehouse attached by skybridge.


Birmingham - Rackhams


Third largest department store in the country, some 500,000 sq ft over several floors and in the heart of the city.


Telford - Beatties


Modern department store a mere decade old. Good positioning in the Telford Centre and very prominent from the box road.


Shrewsbury - Rackhams


Historic store with a nice shop front. Sits on the old high street so away from the modern retail core, but in the more traditional area.


Worcester - Beatties


Modern store built in the 90s. Sits in the newer mall in the city.


Leamington Spa


Sits on the colonnade.






So the purpose of this thread is to come up with ideas for the buildings or plots. I know Wolverhampton most of all, but Birmingham is the most interesting plot as it's so big and prominent.


Some quick ideas:


- Telford could quickly become a John Lewis. The Telford Centre needs it, and it's a modern and logically lain out store ripe for conversion.


- Shrewsbury is probably best being broken up and used as restaurants or cafes given the area it's in. I'm not saying it's not in the retail core as such, but the old high street is very much ancillary to Pride Hill and the Shrewsbury Shopping Centres.


- Birmingham could become a mixed use development.


- Leicester's store closed recently too; that's been converted into a large JD Sports, Zara and restaurants.
 

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culled
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wolverhampton

Restore the arcade, turn Burton into a cafe, and use part of the original two department stores as a new one. 90,000 sq ft over three rationally lain out floors.

Demolish everything else. Would leave this development plot:



Easiest would be a new residential quarter:

 

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Do we know for sure they're closing Birmingham and Wolverhampton? Does that mean then that Sutton and Solihull have escaped closure (for the time being)?

If they are closing Birmingham 's down, maybe it could be added in with the Martineau Galleries redevelopment.
 

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I shall miss the old place though. Mom and Dad occasionally used to take me to the restaurant on the top floor when I was very young. I would probably have had chips, beans and egg or sausage!! It was great going up all those escalators. The rare time I called in over the last ten years or so used to bring back fond memories for me. I know things move on but it's a little disappointing.


Do we know when the stores are to close?
 

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Fus-Ro-Dah!
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With regard to Telford, I had been speculating recently that John Lewis may have been interested in Telford due to a couple of consultancies involved in an application to demolish an old office building adjacent to the Telford Centre though it could have been for a waitrose or JL. If it were for JL it might just be a lot easier and cheaper to convert the HoF especially with the under construction fashion quarter nearby.

Otherwise I'm not sure what could be done with the unit, it is part underground and has a few levels or car park above so might be difficult to convert.
 

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As much as I'm disappointed HoF is closing, this could perhaps offer a great opportunity for a new mixed use site which is linked to Martineau Galleries. Offices. apartments or leisure use plus ground floor retail. Office use here would link MG to Colmore Row and Snow Hill.


Is there any reason why that couldn't happen?
 

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Sefton, I was referring to ownership of the building itself and from an aesthetic point of view so that it could be redeveloped into an extension of the new MG.


Redevelopment would make it easier to use the land for a mixture of purposes, say offices in one building and leisure in another, rather than an awkward conversion into different uses or keeping the building with one sole use.


I'm not sure that I'd want a tall here but it could probably go taller than the existing building, say another 2-4 floors, especially on Corporation St.


What it would allow is a continuous redevelopment from the new HS2 station to St Philip's and Colmore Row.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just been to Beatties, I didn't realise they've already started winding down. There are corridors and spaces that used to have departments that say "sorry, this area is now closed", and around the store a couple of walls are now empty.

I thought of a possible tenant. The council want someone to take the whole site as its such an important store. I can't think of many that would take on something so big, a few hundred thousand square feet.

Well, with cinemas opening all over, I suspect Showcase Walsall will close soon. It sits near the enterprise zone. If they can get Boundary Mills to vacate then there's a huge plot they can add to the zone, as employment space.

So move Boundary Mills into Beatties (I know it's not that simple). They're about the same size as the current scaled down store. That leaves still 100,000+ sq ft, but with all of the store closures lately, places like BM will be looking to expand - they could even keep Beatties' redundant stock on site...

In the long term half the store could be BM with the other half going to someone like The Range, or turning over to residential.

It needs to be a store that is separate and ancillary to the retail core, and a feature on its own that people will travel to, because it is *just* far enough from the Mander Centre. I know it's adjacent, but there's a road to cross, and that just adds a psychological barrier.
 

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Could this not be a possible location for Ikea, Costco perhaps? Would be unusual having a city centre Costco, however they do exist in Tokyo, etc...
 
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