Oxford department store to become boutique hotel

UK: The Boswells Department Store in Oxford, which closed after 282 years of business in 2019, is set to be transformed into a boutique hotel.

Developers Reef Group are slated to submit a planning application for what will be called The Store Hotel, and will host a live public consultation on 22 July.

The original property was the largest family run department store in Britain, and had been continually operating under  the same family since 1738. It currently features entrances on Cornmarket Street and Broad Street, the latter facing opposite Balliol College.

Councillor Ed Turner, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Boswells was a landmark institution in Oxford, and I was very sorry to see it close. The building it occupied is historic, with a complex footprint that is not easy to repurpose for other retail use.

“Therefore, the Council is working with partners to transform the space into a hotel – potentially including some public areas – using an approach that appropriately respects the heritage of the building.”

Reef Group’s public consultation will allow residents and businesses to provide feedback on potential plans. It will be done in webinar format to meet current COVID-19 requirements about gatherings.

Current plans include co-work facilities, a restaurant, bar and a rooftop terrace, all of which will be open to the public. Reef group hope to preserve the historic stature of the original building, maintaining the famous shop fronts on either side.

For more information, read on at The Store Hotel’s website.

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