Vacant car dealership sold to Co-op - but search for tenant continues
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
The East of England Co-op has confirmed it has purchased the former John Grose Ford dealership in Framlingham - but there are currently no plans for it to reopen as a supermarket.
The Co-op has said it has taken over both the dealership, which has been closed for more than a year, and the adjacent filling station.
The station has since been rebranded in Co-op livery having previously been marketed by Jet.
Formerly owned by AG Potter, the showroom and workshops in Station Road were constructed in 1994 before being sold to the John Grose group ten years later.
Last January, it was revealed that John Grose had exercised a break clause in its lease for the dealership and it would close its doors for the final time at the end of the month.
Richard Howard, managing director of John Grose, said at the time the decision had been made due to the rising challenge of internet car sales and other economic issues.
He added: "The decision to close our Framlingham site was a tough one, but made with the fill support of Ford Motor Company."
The 2.5-acre property was subsequently put on the market by Savills with an asking price of £2million, though the petrol station close to the entrance to the site was not included in the sale.
Rumours began to circulate that the showroom would be converted into a supermarket shortly after the closure was announced.
In February last year, budget chain Lidl confirmed its interest in opening a Framlingham store - but no buyer was found for the dealership for more than a year.
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The Co-op has said its immediate focus is on the rebranded fuel station, but said it would be actively seeking new tenants for the larger property.
Another Co-op branch is already open less than half a mile away in Framlingham town centre.
A spokesman for the East of England Co-op said: “We’re proud to have been a part of the Framlingham community for many years and are excited to have extended the services we provide.
"We’re also very pleased to have been able to protect and maintain the jobs of those at the former filling station, who we’re delighted have joined our Co-op family."