Doncaster is set for a major jobs boost under plans to transform a vacant town centre landmark into a retail and leisure complex.
Proposals have been announced for the site of the former TJ Hughes department store to be turned into shops and restaurants.
The Art Deco building, officially called Danum House, has started to fall into disrepair after the closure of TJ Hughes when the firm went into administration and Doncaster Council moved out.
Civic and business leaders have hailed the announcement saying it will provide a major jobs boost and act as a catalyst for further investment in the town centre.
Simon Dishman, policy and information officer for Doncaster Chamber said: “The latest announcement that another vacant retail premises is to be filled in the town centre provides further evidence of the town’s ongoing regeneration and development.
“This will aid the town by providing further job opportunities for local people as well as helping drive inward investment. Finally, this will also provide an added boost to other retailers in the area by enhancing the footfall throughout the town centre.”
Mayor Ros Jones said: “It is great to see such a prominent town centre building being brought back into use. These plans and the new investment coming to the Frenchgate Centre and Waterdale area reflect the increasing confidence that investors and developers have in Doncaster.”
Threadneedle Property Investments Ltd is the firm behind the proposals for the building which is bordered by Printing Office Street, St Sepulchre Gate and Duke Street.
Planning permission to change the use of the building and internal layout of the basement, ground floor and first floor has been granted.
Threadneedle, confirmed it was behind the plans but did not want to release full details.
The firm’s website says it is one of the UK’s leading fund managers and one of the 30 largest asset management firms globally. The company owns around 35 retail properties across the country, including Bethal Square in Brecon and Pavilion Shopping Centre in Tonbridge and has just ploughed £2.5 million into a retail park in Northern Ireland. The planning consent allows it be used for retail, eateries, crèches, day centres as well as leisure and entertainment.
The planning application states: “In the intervening two year period, our client has had real difficulty letting this upper floor space.
“The proposed change of use would help market and therefore let the unit.”
“The proposal would bring a vacant listed building back into use, will not cause significant harm to neighbouring uses or highway safety and retains the character of the building.
“The proposal would add vitality to the shopping area.”
The building currently and comprises the former TJ Hughes store at the basement, ground and first floor with vacant office floor space across the remaining upper floors.