Bishop's Stortford's former Co-op store set to fetch more than £2.2m at auction
A Bishop's Stortford town centre landmark with a chequered past and an uncertain future goes under the hammer on Thursday (April 8) with a guide price of £2.2m.
The former Co-operative headquarters, on the junction of Station Road and South Street, is being offered for sale by auctioneer Strettons.
Built in 1958, the dilapidated eyesore is home to just one trader – Stortford Furniture, Kitchens and Flooring – after the closure of Mains Home Electrical Centre, Chinese buffet Wok and Chef and Indian restaurant the Blue Elephant.
The auction raises questions about the building's future use. In the summer of 2019, developer Sun and Harrow won planning permission from East Herts Council to redevelop the former Co-operative House, creating retail, restaurant and leisure space on the ground and first floors with a new second floor comprising nine flats.
However, later the same year the company returned to the planning authority with a new office space scheme for the former 1960s department store. Both applications were approved.
Potential buyers are told: "An enhanced scheme with an additional floor(s) may be achievable for the building subject to planning. In addition, emerging planning policy relating to proposed forthcoming permitted development rights would enable the existing building... to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission."
Around the corner, Solum's regeneration of the area around the railway station, known as The Goods Yard, will give the building a prime position as train passengers make their way to and from the town centre.
Joint auctioneer Coke Gearing Consulting, of Bishop's Stortford, is currently marketing the 0.26-acre site as leasehold offices, ready from summer 2021.
Potential tenants are told: "The plans are to completely renovate the property, providing modern elevations whilst internally providing modern, open-plan... office space which will include air conditioning, raised floors, carpeting, LED lighting and suspended ceilings. The property also benefits from higher-than-average floor to ceiling heights.
"There are a number of configurations that could be achieved within the property. For example, the entire property could be taken as a single HQ building with single branding. Alternatively, multiple configurations could be achieved, such as having a part ground floor reception/client-facing area directly onto Station Road, with the main office function on the first floor."