High street opportunities

Best Western ‘lost out’ on Princes St in search for vacant sites

Johnnie Walker Experience

Diageo beat hotelier to former department store building

Best Western was beaten to a prime retail site in Edinburgh which it had hoped to convert into a hotel.

Chief executive Rob Paterson said the company had targeted the former House of Fraser department store in Princes Street but it was sold to Diageo for its Johnnie Walker whisky visitor experience.

Mr Paterson told PA Media the company is in talks for three high street sites around the country as it targets a doubling of its 260-strong portfolio by 2022.

Landlords have struggled to fill some shop units following the collapse of chains such as Maplin, Toys R Us and House of Fraser and store closure programmes at Debenhams, M&S and New Look.

This has created opportunities for new occupiers to take over units at attractively-priced rents.

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