IF you thought the high street in York was dying, you might need to think again: businesses have actually been competing to take over some of the city centre's empty premises.

Numerous shops have closed down in the wake of the pandemic and lockdown, with others having already shut because of online competition and high business rates, prompting some to fear they might never reopen.

But now chartered surveyor Barry Crux, of Barry Crux & Company, has revealed that there is still strong demand for good quality empty premises in city centre streets and key routes into the city.

He said that in Coney Street, his firm had agreed the sale of an empty shop and the matter was is in solicitors' hands. "We do expect the sale to complete in the next few weeks," he said, adding that because the sale was still ongoing, he could not reveal the identity of the buyer or their plans.

He said a sale had also been agreed for a former Boots pharmacy at 66 Clarence Street. "This has attracted a great deal of interest from both investors and potential owner occupiers," he said."Several offers were received, with some having been above the asking price. This reflects a generally very healthy market in and around York, as well as in North and East Yorkshire market towns for investment opportunities."

He said he had put the former Croque shop in Fulford Road on the market for re-letting and there had been a 'good level of interest in this opportunity' from several interested parties.

"Negotiations are in hand with a prospective new tenant and we are very hopeful that this will come to fruition," he said.

He said he had also been instructed to find a new tenant for 36 Gillygate – a retail shop which had become vacant. "Again a good level of interest was shown by a variety of prospective businesses and terms have now been agreed for a letting. The shop is now under offer and awaiting completion of a new lease."

He said these cases illustrated that, despite the current difficulties, there was still a strong demand for good quality premises in the city centre and arterial road locations, from both occupiers and investors.