House of Fraser in Bournemouth under offer from potential buyer


Agents marketing the huge building in the city center say it is the subject of an offer from a potential new buyer after a previous sale fell through.

Grant Cormack, divisional retail and investment manager at Goadsby in Bournemouth, said: “All I can say at this stage is that the property is still being offered and we hope the purchase will be finalized shortly.”

The House of Fraser building on Old Christchurch Road was on the market even before the store closed in March, with bids of at least £4.95million invited.

Co-agents Goadsby and Knight Frank said the premises offered “plenty of development and asset management opportunities”.

The building covers over half an acre, with 83,384 square feet of space over six floors, including the basement.

Agents began marketing it in early 2021 as a “prime downtown redevelopment/investment opportunity”.

They said there were 436,000 people in the store’s catchment area, with an “estimated shopping population” of 182,000.

“Bournemouth is expected to experience above average population growth over the period 2019 to 2024. The town’s population is affluent with an overrepresentation of the better-off AB and C1 social groups,” they said.

House of Fraser was the last department store in town when it closed in March this year. City had lost Beales in 2020 and Debenhams in 2021.

The shop was the oldest of Bournemouth’s department stores, having been founded in 1871.

The store originated as Bright’s of Bournemouth, when Frederick Bright opened a shop selling needlework and wool in the Arcade. He expanded the business to nearby stores and then to an adjacent building.

It was purchased by JJ Allen and then House of Fraser, who named it Dingles. It took the name House of Fraser in 2007.

The building, which has distinctive towers and iron facades, is protected as a Grade 2 listed building.

Earlier this year, a report by conservation group Save Britain’s Heritage raised concerns about the building.

“It is a bold and expressive building among its Victorian neighbors,” said the report, Departing Stores: Emporia at Risk, by Harriett Lloyd.

“However, the structure is in a state of considerable neglect, with leaking and crumbling walls inside and plant growth and rusting casement windows harming the outside.”


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