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Shops hope for former Reynard’s Garage building in Piccadilly
AN abandoned building in York city centre could be offered to leading retailers at a knock-down rate, in an attempt to kick-start the regeneration of Piccadilly.
Officials at City of York Council are looking into whether it is feasible and legal to give a retailer the old Reynard’s Garage, opposite the Banana Warehouse, for a nominal fee.
The building has been empty for many years, but council leader James Alexander and opposition leader Ian Gillies both say the site could spark the redevelopment of that side of the River Foss.
Coun Gillies said the council should look at giving the site to John Lewis, but Coun Alexander said he had explored that idea and the retailer was not interested.
Both councillors have called for further efforts to be made though, to end the years of unfulfilled speculation around Piccadilly.
Coun Gillies said: “The site is one of high potential and could possibly act as a catalyst for the wider development of Piccadilly.”
Coun Alexander said: “It appears great minds think alike, as I had considered the site which is in council ownership for an additional John Lewis, which would help satisfy what some city centre traders have been saying.
“It is clear from discussions with John Lewis that they do not see this as feasible.
“However I am discussing with council officers the possibility of another high- profile store to bring footfall to the area and help kick-start the Piccadilly development that is some years off and was abandoned after protests from some city centre traders.”
He insisted the council would need to go through due legal processes with any potential retailer.
A John Lewis spokesperson said: “We are committed to the planning application for a John Lewis department store at Monks Cross and hope that it will be approved at the forthcoming planning committee meeting.”