New owner for iconic department store building

Irish family-owned business Martin Property Group is the new owner of Chester’s iconic Browns of Chester building – formerly home to Debenhams – in the latest of a string of strategic acquisitions in the historic city.

Martin Property Group acquired the 150,000 sq ft building from Allsop, on behalf of British Land, for an undisclosed sum.

The building has been empty since Debenhams closed its doors in May 2021.

Grade I listed, the building incorporates part of the famous Chester Rows and contains many ornate features such as glass-domed roofs, elaborate plasterwork and the Crypt Chambers.

The building fronts onto Eastgate Street and adjoins the 211,845 sq. ft. Chester Grosvenor Shopping Centre, which Martin Property Group acquired along with the nearby Newgate Street multi-storey car park and Jurys Inn Hotel Leonardo, earlier this year.

Gary Martin, director of Martin Property Group said: “We’ve made some sizeable investments in Chester over the last few months, and we’re delighted to add such a prominent and important asset to our portfolio.

“As well as having prime frontage onto Chester’s main shopping street, the building also adjoins the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. This latest acquisition gives us an opportunity to take a more strategic view of how we breathe positive new life into both of these assets.  We know we have an important role as the new custodians of this much-loved building, and we will work closely with local stakeholders to develop our plans.”

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