Sports Direct and huge bowling alley company take over old Debenhams store in Milton Keynes shopping centre

The whole of the ground floor will be a late night bowling alley and bar
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Sports Direct and Lane 7 have this week signed a deal to take over the huge redundant Debenhams store in MK’s Midsummer Place shopping centre.

The bowling alley will be on the basement floor and will be a late-night venue, complete with a bar and dining facilities.

The double deal will help “transform” the centre, said its management company today (Thursday).

Debenhams closed in Milton Keynes following the first Covid lockdownDebenhams closed in Milton Keynes following the first Covid lockdown
Debenhams closed in Milton Keynes following the first Covid lockdown

Sport Direct, which is part of the Frasers Group, will occupy the other floors and will use some of the space for the company’s other brands.

These include Evans Cycles, GAME and sport clothing specialist USC.

Debenhams, a flagship store in the centre, closed during the first Covid lockdown in 2020. It never opened its doors again, with bosses saying they had been unable to agree new terms with the then landlord, Intu.

Later in the year, the premises was later taken over by Next Beauty & Home but less than three years later, in May 2023, that closed down.

The new plan means there will be three major bowling alleys within less than one square mile in Central Milton Keynes, all run by different companies.

Lane 7 describes itself as a venue where people can ‘bowl, play, feast and drink’ and also offers darts, pool and even karaoke.

the company’s managing director Gavin Hughes said the new MK venue will be the biggest Lane7 to date.

"We can’t wait to come to Midsummer Place, bringing our unique brand of entertainment and hospitality to Milton Keynes, he said.

Both the bowling alley and the Frasers Group stores are set to open at the end of this year or beginning of 2025.

Sports Direct is a leading retailer of sports and fitness with stores across the UK and internationally. This 50,000 sqft store will offer the world’s biggest sports and lifestyle brands across footwear, clothing and equipment, say Midsummer Place bosses.

The deal was secured by Midsummer Place’s asset management company, Ellandi. Simon Anderson, Asset Management Director at Ellandi, said: “Securing both Frasers Group’s Sports Direct and Lane 7 for Midsummer Place demonstrates both confidence in the market as well as highlighting the opportunity at Midsummer Place.

"These brands will complement the recent re-development of The Boulevard F&B quarter. We are transforming the centre, and in addition to the physical changes we are curating a very attractive tenant mix. This brings us one step closer to realising our vision to create a high-end, quality destination.”

Simon Martin, Centre Manager at Midsummer Place said: “This is an exciting time for Midsummer Place and Central Milton Keynes as we welcome new retail and leisure experiences. The recent completion of The Boulevard has already transformed the look of the centre and there is much more to reveal in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, a Frasers Group spokesperson said: “We are pleased to be opening a new, elevated retail destination in Milton Keynes’ Midsummer Place. The Sports Direct store will give customers access to the world’s best sports and lifestyle brands, as well as bring other brands from the Group’s ecosystem, including USC, Evans Cycles and GAME, to the location.”

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