Richmond’s landmark House of Fraser store could finally be transformed into a retail, office and leisure park with a gym and swimming pool after months of uncertainty.

The fate of the borough’s old flagship department store had been hanging in the balance after it shut in 2020 and was put up for sale by its long-term owners in February this year.

Richmond-based developer Sheen Lane Developments has acquired the old store on George Street after a £44.5 million loan from property lender ASK Partners and OakNorth Bank, which is set to cover the purchase and refurbishment of the building.

The site also includes buildings on Paved Court.

Investment firm Canadian and Arcadia was granted planning consent by Richmond Council in 2021 to turn the site into a multi-million-pound retail and leisure centre.

But the company revealed in February that it had put the property up for sale to find an owner “with the resources to deliver the scheme”.

In a statement, Canadian and Arcadia previously said: “Since the plans were consented in 2021, we have been working incredibly hard to secure tenants for 80 George Street and have engaged with a number of well-known retailers to secure a pre-let that would enable us to bring forward the redevelopment without doing so on a speculative basis.”

The statement added: “Initial strip out works have been completed and the approved plans remain in place for a high-quality retail, leisure and office scheme which will transform this landmark building and create enormous employment opportunities.

"We believe there will be considerable interest in the site and we hope to provide greater certainty in the coming months.”

A planning application from 80 George Street Limited, a subsidiary of Sheen Lane Developments, to redevelop the site has now been submitted to the council.

The main difference between the application and the previous scheme is that it proposes works to the building’s basement to allow for a new swimming pool.

A statement with the application outlines plans for the redevelopment, with the swimming pool included in a private gym in the basement.

There would be shops and restaurants on the ground floor, a private gym on the first floor, offices on the second and third, restaurants on an extended fourth floor and a rooftop.

Sheen Lane Developments has revealed it has a “great tenant line-up” ready to occupy the building next year. The plans aim to create a new “commercial and leisure focal point” on the high street.

Martin Tynan, director at Sheen Lane Developments said: “We are delighted to have made this acquisition with financing from ASK and OakNorth Bank. This building is of great importance to the vitality of Richmond town centre, and we have a great tenant line-up looking to take occupation in 2023.

"We look forward to working with the local authority to realise the potential of this building to reinvigorate this end of the high street and retain Richmond’s competitiveness as a commercial and leisure destination.”

Daniel Austin, CEO of ASK, said: “We are delighted to have supported Sheen Lane with funding for this acquisition.

"It will be very exciting to see this prominent building restored to its former importance as part of the local vibrant community in Richmond.” 

Hemesh Patel, director of property finance at OakNorth Bank, added: “The site in Richmond has excellent prospects and we look forward to watching the refurbishments take shape moving forward.”