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Swansea Council purchases former Debenhams store

(Adobe Stock)

A LANDMARK city centre building in Swansea is set to be brought back into use following its purchase, thanks to Welsh Government funding.

Swansea Council is to receive £2.85m funding from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme to help purchase the former Debenhams store in the heart of the Quadrant Centre.

Now the purchase has been completed, the council will begin its search for retail tenants for the high-profile site, following initial discussions with a number of parties.

Swansea’s Debenhams was one of many of its stores across the UK which closed down in 2021 after the company went into administration.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The former Debenham’s unit is important to the ongoing regeneration of the city centre, and the council is very keen to see it brought back into retail use as soon as possible.

“We are very grateful to the Welsh Government for their continuing work alongside us to support retail businesses in Swansea, creating and protecting jobs.”

He said: “The former Debenhams store a large and complex building that had been in private ownership, so discussions about buying the building were always going to take time.

“Now the building is owned by the council we’ll have more control over talks with potential tenants and securing a retail use there is the next step of our plan. Alongside the Welsh Government we’ll also be able to look at how the building can be refurbished and adapted for future uses.”

Cllr Stewart said: “Creating a long-term, vibrant future for the former Debenham’s unit will help protect Swansea city centre and encourage existing and new retailers to continue investing in our city.

“It will also support plans led by our long-term regeneration partner, Urban Splash, who are on board to redevelop a number of key sites in the city centre and on the waterfront.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We are determined to make our cities, towns and villages even better places to live and work. We are investing £100m in our three-year Transforming Towns programme to regenerate town centres so they are the beating hearts of local communities.

“I am pleased Transforming Towns is supporting Swansea Council in bringing this landmark building back into use as part of its wider proposals for the economic growth of the city centre.”

The former Debenham’s unit includes 114,000 square feet of commercial floor space that provides space for 600 jobs.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “There has been a change in retailing trends nationally in recent times from online retail to favour town centres, so now that the purchase is complete we’ll do all we can to make the most of this by aiming to secure retail use at the former Debenham’s unit.

“Bringing this building back into this kind of use would also raise Swansea’s profile across Wales and beyond, further boost the Quadrant and the city centre, create jobs and support existing businesses by generating more footfall.

“It would complement all we’re doing to improve the city centre, with Swansea Arena now open and plans to revamp Castle Square Gardens due to follow-on from major improvements of areas including Wind Street and The Kingsway.”