Largest business plot split up

THE largest retail unit in Exmouth, the massive former Homebase store in Liverton Business Park, will be split into smaller units.

It follows after three successive attempts to operate a business at the site over 15 years have led to firms shutting-up shop and leaving the town.

The 26,000 square-foot unit is the only vacant building in the business park and is up for grabs after Vergo Retail Limited, the parent company of last tenant Homemaker, went into administration in the spring.

Since it was built in 1990 the building has had a chequered history and now owners of Liverton Business Park, Clinton Devon Estates, say it is time to divide the site up into up to three retail units.

The building was originally purpose built around 15 years ago for the Clarks shoe factory after Tesco made them an offer and they moved out of their original factory – at its peak the new 17,500 sq ft factory employed upwards of 200 people.

But around 2000 the factory closed and the site was taken over by Seattle-based company Medical Equipment Incorporated, but they shut up shop after just a year.

The site remained empty for approximately five years before Homebase moved in and the building was expanded by over a third to 26,000 square feet.

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But after just five years Vergo Retail Limited went into administration and now the plot’s owners, Co-op, say they have been approached by ‘several national firms’ interested in taking over.

Malcolm Williams, retained agent for Clinton Devon Estates, said: “We have been talking to several interested national companies… there have been several goes but obviously after the unit’s recent history maybe the site is just too big.

“It is almost inevitable the building will be split up into two or possibly three units.”