Iconic Preston's of Bolton building finally set for new lease of life after seven years in limbo

Empty since the jewellers closed in 2016, it could now become a coffee house and office space.
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One of Bolton’s most recognisable buildings is set to reopen as a coffee house and offices. The former Preston’s of Bolton building on Deansgate has been vacant since the ‘diamond centre of the north’ jewellers closed down in 2016.

London based LBC Group Ltd have submitted plans showing how they plan to transform the interior of the four storey building.

Preston’s of Bolton opened on the site in 1869. The original narrow store was later demolished and rebuilt as the four-storey emporium in 1912. It became the largest jewellery showroom in the UK and was widely known as ‘The Diamond Centre of the North.’

Then and now - the Preston's of Bolton building has been a real landmark in the townThen and now - the Preston's of Bolton building has been a real landmark in the town
Then and now - the Preston's of Bolton building has been a real landmark in the town

A design and access statement, published in support of the plans, said: “The proposal is to create a café and offices.

“The ground floor will house the coffee house. It will sell hot and cold drinks and pastries with a variety of seating. The ground floor lends itself well to a public café due to its existing features such as a glazed frontage and main entry off the focal corner of the building.

“The basement and upper floors will house the offices and rentable spaces. There will be a mix of private offices for one to six people and on-demand hot desking and meeting rooms. Again, key internal features will be retained such as the tiled floor, joinery and decorative mouldings. The opening hours will be 8am to 7pm.”

The application noted the important status of the building to Boltonians. It said: “The building is clearly an iconic landmark with a strong history in the Bolton town centre and to its locals. Currently the building is not in use, the prominent clock tower is not working, and the external tiling is in need of localised repairs.

A CGI image of how the former Preston's of Bolton building could lookA CGI image of how the former Preston's of Bolton building could look
A CGI image of how the former Preston's of Bolton building could look

“It is therefore vital the building is given a new lease of life which is suitable in the evolving high street landscape, ensuring its use and longevity.”

The application says a coffee house is deemed appropriate development for the town centre ‘due to the continued footfall from shoppers and workers’.

The statement, added: “Flexible working spaces are also deemed appropriate with increasing rents and changes in the way of working after Covid. The two uses also complement each other, with the coffee house offering subsidised drinks to the office users to encourage use and a USP of the offices having an attached café.

“The ability to rent out rooms also allows the building to play an important role in creating spaces for the community. We believe these uses will ensure the building is re-purposed successfully and integrated back into the life of the town.”