EXCLUSIVE: Owners of Northampton's empty BHS store reveal their vision for the site
The new owners of the former BHS department store in Northampton are calling on local entrepreneurs to submit fresh ideas for the site in a bid to revitalise the town centre.
Oxford London Estates Group has bought the former department store in Abington Street for an undisclosed fee.
The London-based firm, which formed in 2003 and has a portfolio of properties it has regenerated across the UK, now intends to launch a mixed-use development at the site, which could comprise a hybrid of flats, shops and leisure.
But company director Roni Chotoveli told the Chron the investors are not simply looking to fill it with another 'dying' high street brand.
Instead, the company is calling on local entrepreneurs to submit ideas for the prominent building in the hope of turning it into a major town centre destination.
Mr Chotoveli said: “We are investors and entrepreneurs and we have a vision to regenerate this dilapidated site.
“It’s in a very good location and with the right investment it can be regenerated into something prestigious in the town centre.
“We are looking at a mixed-use leisure and retail scheme, but what we are really trying to do is to find local entrepreneurs who either want to run it or co-operate on a joint venture.
“We are appealing to local talent to come forward and present their ideas of what they think we can achieve.”
Mr Chotoveli said the ideal candidates will come forward with “something a little different” for the building.
He said: “Many of the older generation brands are not doing so well these days.
“We are looking for new operators and local entrepreneurs to regenerate the site.
“We need the younger generation’s way of thinking here – with new brands and new concepts. We are open to options.”
The director added that Oxford London Estates Group is not looking to put a timescale on the development, but said Northampton Borough Council has been extremely supportive.
He finished by saying: “This town centre is not dead – we can still save it.
“I strongly believe this development will benefit the wider businesses in the town centre because of the additional footfall it will generate.”
Anyone who would like to submit an idea for the BHS site should email: [email protected]