Deal still in progress for a new department store for empty Debenhams in Blackpool Houndshill shopping center

The council confirmed it was still in talks with a potential new tenant for the store which closed in May 2021.

A report states that “discussions are currently underway with a potential new department store to replace the former Debenhams department store”.

Negotiations have dragged on for more than a year, with town hall leaders refusing to release the name of the potential operator despite a source previously saying it would be “a big name”.

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Former Debenhams store in Blackpool

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Blackpool Houndshill Shopping Center speaks to retailer about Debenhams…

Council leader Councilor Lynn Williams told a full council meeting that she was ‘as frustrated’ as everyone that she was unable to reveal more details, but added “It’s with the lawyers”.

She said: “As soon as we can, I’ll make sure everyone knows who it is.”

Councilor Rick Scott expressed concern about the time it would take to bring in a new tenant and the loss of revenue this was causing the council which owns the Houndshill Shopping Centre.

Works on the Houndshill Extension

He said: “It’s been going on for a while and I know the response I’ll get is that it’s commercially sensitive.

“The council are building a new complex next door, but the Houndshill’s flagship has been empty since Debenhams left.

“We’re not taking rental income from Debenhams, but we’re building another resort. A lot of the public wants to know, is this going to be another white elephant left empty for years?”

But the meeting heard that plans are progressing.

A council report says the steel frame was completed in late May.

He adds: “The scaffolding at the west elevation is now in place and the demolition of the outer walls has begun to connect with the existing centre.

“The cinema operator is finalizing discussions with a global cinema technology provider.”

Deals were signed in February 2021 for Houndshill’s £21million second phase, including a 22,500sqft Wilko store, and a deal with MMC Cinemas for a nine-screen, 850-seat multimedia cinema complex , including the largest immersive screen in Lancashire.

Phase two also includes two restaurants totaling 3,760 square feet, although the operators have yet to be revealed.