Hammerson targets Debenhams store for residential conversion

UK-headquarted REIT Hammerson has submitted plans to transform a former Debenhams store at one of its shopping centres into new homes for rent.

The department store unit is located at Highcross, St Peter’s Lane, Leicester. Hammerson said it had worked jointly with private-rented-sector (PRS) specialist Packaged Living to develop the application.

Mark Bourgeois, managing director UK and Ireland at Hammerson said: 'Since opening its doors in 2008, Highcross has firmly established itself as an integral part of Leicester’s city core.

'While the structural shift in retail and changing consumer shopping habits have meant that destinations such as Highcross need to adapt their offer and mix of uses, well-connected city centre locations such as this will always be places where people want to be.

'We are delighted to submit this proposal for high-quality homes for local people to rent, which will support our brands at Highcross and contribute to the continued success of Leicester city centre.'

The submission follows a virtual public consultation which took place at the end of last year, where members of the local community were invited to view the plans and attend a virtual community meeting and Q&A session with the project team.

The exhibition was the first virtual planning consultation held by the group and was designed to enable local residents to view the initial proposals and provide feedback in a manner that was Covid-19 safe. The consultation ran for ten days and feedback on the plans was positive, according to Hammerson, with over 80% of consultees supporting the proposed regeneration.

The development, designed by CRTKL, would see the former Debenhams department store at Highcross transformed into homes for local residents, as well as providing major improvements to enliven East Bond Street, where the entrance will be located.

On completion, the scheme will provide over 300 new homes and an improved public realm for the city alongside bespoke resident amenities including a roof garden.

Packaged Living, the bespoke build-to-rent operator and developer, has grown a pipeline of over 2,000 homes since its inception in 2018, with major developments spanning the UK. The company has been appointed as development manager.

Mark Woodrow, joint managing director at Packaged Living said: 'St Peter’s Lane is the result of Hammerson and Packaged Living’s shared vision to deliver good quality rental homes within sustainable, mixed-use communities.

'We are delighted to be working with Hammerson, bringing our investment, development and operational experience in the build-to-rent sector to support the re-purposing and evolution of this excellently located asset.'


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