Henderson Global Investors - advised by joint-agents Savills and Churston Heard - has clinched a deal which will see Debenhams move in as a new tenant at Weavers Wharf Retail Park in Kidderminster.
Debenhams will occupy the impressive Slingfield Mill premises which are to be care-fully restored and refurbished.
Plans have been drawn up to transform the five-storey Grade II listed former mill into a department store and hotel, to compliment the existing retail park and regenerate the historic building. Debenhams has signed a new 15-year lease.
Planning and listed applications have been submitted to Wyre Forest District Council and on gaining the necessary planning consents work will begin immediately on site, taking approximately nine months, and involving "meticulous conservation and repair" of the original features of the property.
Occupying 32,517 sq ft and arranged over the ground and first floors of the building, the proposals will include a contemporary two-storey glass box extension to the front and rear elevations of the building, facilitating natural light penetration to the internal areas.
Henderson says the proposals signal its intention to work with the district council and the Town Centre Partnership to help deliver the wider regeneration of Kidderminster town centre.
Set over 25 acres and bordered by the River Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, Weavers Wharf Retail Park is already home to Marks & Spencer, Next, TK Max, JJB Sports and Soccer World, amongst others. It also provides substantial car parking for the town and includes restaurant operators Frankie & Benny's, Pizza Hut and McDonalds.
Katherine Pye of Henderson said: "We approached Debenhams, as they will provide the much needed department store for the scheme and boost Kidderminster's retail offering.
"Working closely with the Wyre Forest District Council, this careful development and restoration project should not only add to the already successful retail park, but further aid the town centre regeneration."
Rob Hadfield of Debenhams, added: "The Slingfield Mill site presents an exciting opportunity for us and we are pleased to be involved at such an early stage in the development plans.
"With a huge undersupplied catchment area, Kidderminster is set to become a significant regional retail destination."
Councillor Stephen Clee, Wyre Forest District Council member for planning, regeneration and prosperity, also said: "Wyre Forest District Council has been working for some time now with the Town Centre Partnership to provide opportunities to regenerate the town centre and continue to make it an attractive destination for visitors.
"As soon as we became aware of Debenhams' interest in the town, we knew it was going to take something special. This milestone in the town's development should help to draw more trade to the whole town and will have wider benefits for the area."
According to market research provider Experian, the scheme's catchment area stretches along the A449 as far as Worcester to the south and Bridgenorth in the North and Birmingham to the East. Its core catchment area, from which 50 per cent of its customers come, comprises 80,000 plus people each living within eight minutes distance of the park.