Tesco's Belfast city centre store goes on the market for £4.25m

Tesco's metro store has operated in Belfast city centre since 1996.
Ryan McAleer

TESCO’S Belfast city centre metro store has gone on sale for £4.25 million as the supermarket chain prepares to vacate the premises in October.

The retailer announced last year that it would not be renewing its tenancy within the former bank on Royal Avenue, where around 95 people are employed.

Commercial property firm CBRE has confirmed that Tesco’s 25-year lease will expire on October 17 2021.

The listing also confirms that the property carries an annual rent of £1,075,000.

The 22,500 sq ft listed building dates back to 1869 when it was built as the Belfast branch for the Provincial Bank of Ireland. Allied Irish Bank took it over in the late 1980s until Tesco entered the frame in 1996, building an extension.

Tesco felt the brunt of the August 2018 fire that devastated Primark’s Bank Buildings store next door.

The supermarket remained closed for almost nine months, reopening in May 2019. The continuing works at Bank Buildings has restricted access to Tesco’s store, with just one footpath in operation around the Primark site.

The Covid-19 pandemic represented a further hit to city centre footfall.

Tesco’s decision to vacate the premises is a double blow to Royal Avenue following confirmation that Debenhams’ flagship store at CastleCourt will soon close.

Finding a retail occupier could prove a challenge for the new owners. Primark has already responded to the 2018 fire by buying Fountain House on Donegall Place.

It could result in any new owners splitting the unit into smaller retail and/or office units.

Under current legislation in the north, listed commercial properties are exempt from rates when vacant.

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