Falkirk business: Former M&S High Street property goes to auction

A former retail property in the heart of Falkirk town centre failed to sell at auction this week.

Thursday, 14th July 2022, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2022, 9:49 pm

The building that was the home to Marks & Spencer for almost 80 years before its closure in August 2018 went under the hammer on Tuesday.

The property at 59-63 High Street, which also has a rear access into the Howgate Centre, was only bought earlier this year by Falkirk businessman Douglas Hannigan.

It was listed by Acuitus for an online auction on Tuesday with a starting price of £300,000.

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The unit was last used by M&S in August 2018 and is now an events and rehearsal space

However, no bids were made.

Last month confirming the auction plans, Mr Hannigan said: “We decided to test the market.”

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Falkirk Council has said it is “interested” in the outcome of the sale – months after rejecting the site as a potential new headquarters.

The auction listing states: “Prominent former Marks and Spencer store in Falkirk town centre. Important link between the High Street directly into the Howgate Shopping Centre with double shop front within the centre.

“Potential development opportunity (subject to planning consent).”

The property is currently being used as a rehearsal and events space.

In February Mr Hannigan revealed plans to transform the 84,000 sq ft building which he proposed renting to Falkirk Council for its new headquarters, including space suitable for offices, a One Stop Shop and library.

At the time he said: “My aim is to increase footfall in the high street by one million per year. This, I hope, is the first step which will begin a domino effect in getting Falkirk High Street back to being a place to be proud of."

He also offered the council a five year rent free deal and was willing to fix the rent below the market rate.

However, his proposal was rejected by the local authority.

At the time a Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “Council agreed in September 2021 that officers should focus on the current Municipal Buildings site with regards to a new headquarters. Since then we have been progressing with a range of feasibility options and identifying costs and the information on these will come back to members for consideration in due course.

"This decision and activity does not align with the option of the former M&S building.”