Iconic Ilford landmark Harrison Gibson building bought by investor

The Harrison Gibson building has been bought by Lumina Real Estate Capital.

The Harrison Gibson building has been bought by Lumina Real Estate Capital. - Credit: Archant

A leading real estate investor has purchased the historic Harrison Gibson building, in High Road, Ilford.

The Harrison Gibson store in its 1960s heyday.

The Harrison Gibson store in its 1960s heyday. - Credit: Archant

Lumina Real Estate Capital (LREC), based in central London, acquired the old department store, which has been vacant since April 2010.

The announcement came shortly after Redbridge Council stated they were expecting £1billion of investment into Ilford town centre by 2021.

Sassan Ahsani, managing director of LREC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to transform and redevelop this landmark building.

“Our plans will act as a catalyst to enhance High Road and further improve the surrounding area.”

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Mr Ahsani indicated the arrival of Crossrail encouraged the company to invest.

He added: “By 2017 there will be 12 trains an hour into central London at peak times.

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“Ilford is a great location to live and work already and its prospects are incredibly positive.”

LREC has not yet declared what the building will become - a spokesman said it “is considering various options”.

The century-old building has been bought by several real estate investors since April 2010, yet previous plans have never materialised.

Prudential Property Investment Managers were intially going to turn it into flats.

It was then sold to HG Trading Ltd in December 2010, and once again to Orient Trading Star Ltd in 2012.

Orient had planning permission to transform the site into a luxury hotel, a nightclub and a retail park, but it has lain dormant ever since.

Cllr Muhammed Javed (Lab, Clementswood) was pleased with the new deal, but remained cautious given the building’s recent history.

The former cabinet member for housing told the Recorder: “We are always hopeful and never give up, and we are hoping that the new owners pull through.

“We heard about the hotel, the housing going up, then it was going to be pulled down, I will wait until I see it.”

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