Hopes are high that the acquisition of Debenhams’ shop in the High Street could help to shine a positive spotlight on Kirkcaldy town centre.
The struggling national chain had confirmed plans to shut after Christmas, raising concerns of another large empty unit in the heart of the pedestrianised zone.
But it has now been filled by new concession store, 1517, and work will begin in January to transform it into a hub which offers a different style of shopping.
The new business provides a mix of local and national concessions, offering space to a wide range of businesses and services – its first outlet features everything from a hair salon to white goods.
1517 launched in Scotland earlier this year, opening in the former BhS in Ayr’s town centre, and it is looking to expand with Kirkcaldy next on its radar after months of work behind the scenes.
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Senior figures in the company visited the Lang Toun and were given a tour of the High Street, and a presentation into the plans for its future.
Councillor Alistair Cameron, Kirkcaldy Central, said: “The meetings were very positive..
“They were really impressed with what is happening and the concept we have for Kirkcaldy.
“A lot of work has gone in to this and I am delighted it is now coming together.
“I am sure this will be a huge boost for the High street – and not just for the retail sector.” Councillor Cameron and Hazel Cross, economic adviser, town centre development unit, led the presentations, and were able to present the bigger picture of investment in the town centre, and the potential it offers.
“This is a mark of confidence in our town centre,” he added.
“There are lots of things going on just below the radar right now, so, from an investor’s point of view, anyone either down south of elsewhere in Scotland can identify Kirkcaldy as a place with potential.”
The new retail hub already has interest from local and national concessions, and hopes to be up and running early in the new year – work is slated to start around January 24 on transforming the existing Debenhams’ unit.
“It’s excellent to see someone new moving straight in so soon after Debenhams closes,” added Cllr Cameron.
“1517 will bring people into the town centre, and that sends a positive message to other developers thinking about coming here.
“Work is about to start on the Esplanade dual carriageway, we have more units being turned in to accommodation in our town centre, and the steps at the Kirkcaldy Centre are about to refurbished – hopefully this is a sign we are turning a corner again.”