HMV could be 'empty for a year' when retailer closes its doors in Cheltenham
THE HMV store in the High Street is likely to remain empty for a year once the entertainment retailer closes its doors in the next six weeks.
The people who own the large shop have told the Echo they will extend, refurbish and redevelop the premises before a new business moves in.
Plans include turning the first floor of the building into offices, the second floor into five residential flats, installing a new shop front and also expanding it at the back.
James Tibbles, the development manager for the building's owners, said the work was going to take place regardless of HMV's situation.
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He said the site was likely to remain empty while the year-long transformation took place. It will see the premises extended "forwards, backwards and upwards".
"We have planning consent to redevelop the building and HMV was always going to leave before we did our building work," he said.
"We have started the first bit of the work and we will be back later this year with a view to having the building ready for occupation this time next year. Rome wasn't built in a day."
As for which business could move in to the property in a year's time, Mr Tibbles said: "We are talking to retailers at the moment."
HMV announced its intention to close its store earlier this month.
The national music retailer fell into administration in January but there had been hopes that the Cheltenham branch would stay open.
But administrators Deloitte announced it was being axed along with the Gloucester branch and 35 other stores across the country.
Martin Quantock, Cheltenham's town centre manager, said when HMV closed its doors there would be a 'gap' separating the High Street.
He said it was important that the empty shop, along with the recently vacated Millets and Disney shops, were filled soon.
He said: "The fact that on the ground Disney, HMV and Millets are all going to be empty, it means there is a big gap between the Beechwood Shopping Centre and New Look and beyond. I do know that the Beechwood is working extremely hard to get tenants into the old Disney store.
"It is not an attractive situation to have a large empty unit at the entrance to the shopping centre."