Debenhams in Nottingham Square

Experts have announced that due to logistical issues and demand, the Long Row space will likely be used for luxury apartments, office space or student accommodation.

The news follows the purchase of the Debenhams brand by Boohoo yesterday for £55m.

The building, which has a 180 year trading history, is considered a large part of the Nottingham’s culture and history located on the corner of the busy market square.

Mayfair-based Altum Capital Investments bought the property in 2017 for £25.85m before letting the space to Debenhams.

Retail expert Nelson Blackley said: “Three years ago, the freehold of the huge 196,000 square foot building was bought by Altum Capital.

“At the time, the new landlords specifically mentioned the acquisition provided ‘potential alternative use value’ and so this clearly suggests some form of redevelopment is most likely, for example, luxury apartments, high-quality office space or student accommodation.”

He added: “Although for much of its existence Debenhams was highly profitable, and a key tenant on many high streets and shopping centres around the UK, it struggled after a period of private equity ownership in the early 2000’s which saddled it with what proved to be unsustainable levels of debt.

“In Autumn 2018 it announced its biggest ever loss in its history.”

Blackley also highlighted occupation of listed buildings as a potential explanation for Debenhams’ problems.

These buildings make it difficult to make changes to property and keep up with demand.

“Listed buildings are not only expensive to maintain but difficult to quickly update or reconfigure”
Nelson Blackley, retail expert

Blackley added: “[Listed buildings] are not only expensive to maintain but difficult to reconfigure.”

The worry now among local retailers and experts is what will come next and what it will mean for the future of the high street.