'It will be positive' - Debenhams building in Norwich goes under offer

Debenhams Orford Place Norwich

What's going into the former Debenhams store? The building in Orford Place when it was still trading. A new buyer has now made an offer on it. - Credit: Archant

A buyer has been found for the former Debenhams store in Orford Place - a sign of good news for the high street.

The imposing six-storey building, Orford House, went up for sale or rent in March after online fashion retailer Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand but not the stores or staff.

Agents London-based GCW, which is marketing the building on behalf of its Irish owner, would not divulge the price.

Tim Ashe, associate director at GCW, said the building had gone under offer with "one buyer".

"One buyer is looking to buy the whole building and has various plans," he said. "It will be positive."

Mr Ashe declined to comment further except to say the sale would hopefully complete "in the next few weeks".

The building, which had been home to the former Debenhams since the 1970s and Curls department store before that, was marketed as an "iconic repositioning opportunity".

Offering a massive 111,000sqft over its six floors, the agents promoted the building for leisure, gym or retail use on its ground and lower floors, with the potential for residential above.

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This could mean owner occupier flats converted from the upper floors or possibly use for a hotel - with as many as 150 bedrooms - or student accommodation as well as offices.

Debenhams in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The building in Norwich when it was Debenhams. - Credit: Archant

The building is not listed meaning it could even be demolished to make way for a new development.

If it is retained, the sale does mean it will be cleaned up and put to use again. Despite it only standing empty for a few months after stock was cleared back in April, its steps and entrances have been littered with rubbish.

In 2005 the building was sold for £20m and is owned by the family of Irish bookmaker and boxing promoter legend, the late Barney Eastwood. 

The closure of the Debenhams stores meant other big stores have been left vacant including the one in Kings Lynn's high street.

This store, offering more than 46,000 sqft and spanning from 10 to 16 High Street, is still for rent for a price on application.