Jan 18, 2023
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More retail space lost as Hammerson reveals Grand Central plans

Jan 18, 2023

Key Birmingham shopping destination Grand Central is to lose 200,000 sq ft of retail space. Commercial property giant Hammerson has submitted plans to transform the former John Lewis anchor department store at Grand Central, which is linked to the city’s Bull Ring centre, into offices.


It's a further sign of how property giants are branching out from retail and repurposing empty retail space. The large number of department store closures across the UK, which was even happening before the pandemic, has accelerated this move.

Called Drum, work on the transformation will begin later this year, with the potential for completion in 2025.

The proposed change of use will “reflect Hammerson’s strategy to reinvigorate its prime urban estates through diversifying uses whilst maximising the re-use of embodied carbon in existing buildings”, it said in a statement Wednesday.

It added that the plans “respond to the significant demand for the best-connected city centre space by occupiers and staff - especially in the centre of a young and diverse city, whose economy has grown by 25% in the last five years.

Drum, which takes its name from the design of the building, “will set a benchmark for the new paradigm of city centre workplace, incorporating the best levels of amenity, connectivity and ESG”. 

John Lewis Partnership first revealed in July 2020 it planned to close its key Birmingham location, which only opened in 2015. It was one of eight UK stores earmarked for closure following a review of its branches to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers' shopping needs”.

On the upside, an expected 2,000 staff working at Drum will be a boost for The Bull Ring/Grand Central’s shopping centre which houses over 150 stores including Selfridges, Zara, Next, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Canada Goose.

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