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15:17 closure: New department store to launch on site of ill-fated Kirkcaldy venture

Tahir Ali will launch the store next week.

A new department store will open next week on the site of Kirkcaldy’s ill-fated 15:17 outlet.

Landlord Tahir Ali has announced he is launching a fresh venture called Fife Department Store at the plum High Street site.

15:17 closure Kirkcaldy
Tahir Ali will launch the venture under a new name.

It will include a number of the traders who operated out of 15:17, as well as clothing on the first floor.

And it will launch on November 11.

The move follows crisis talks with staff and businesses affected by last week’s shock closure after just five weeks of operating.

15:17 allows small businesses to open a concession in-store and charges rent or commission.

But traders say they never saw a penny from their sales and staff were not paid.

And Mr Ali has now claimed he is owed more than £100,000 in rent by 15:17.

He decided to evict the company after being alerted to problems by businesses.

“I feel that allowing them to remain at my property would have been a far worse predicament for Kirkcaldy and me,” he said.

Exciting opportunity

However, Mr Ali was impressed by the staff and management at the store.

And he is confident his Fife Department Store idea will work.

He described it as a bold bid to help rejuvenate the town’s retail offering.

Tahir Ali, of Evergold Properties, bought The Postings in 2019.

“Having been delighted at how well the local Kirkcaldy management team was operating the store and given the fact there is a limited choice of beauty products, women’s fashion and children’s wear along the High Street, I have decided to take the opportunity to bring on board a knowledgeable team of retail suppliers and specialist to help launch and support our own High Street department store,” he said.

He added: “It would have been a great shame to leave a gap in Kirkcaldy High Street when there exists such an exciting opportunity to develop a local and varied department store.”

The concessionaires who had filled the ground floor will remain.

And Kirkcaldy’s own 3 Beans Coffee will also continue to operate from the store.

Meanwhile, the first floor of the 20,000 square feet shop will focus on affordable women’s and children’s clothes with some menswear.

“Whilst we all find ourselves in extremely challenging times, I am confident that Fife Department Store will prove popular with the local community,” Mr Ali said.

“We all look forward to a busy trading period in the run up to the festive season and beyond.”

The Postings

Mr Ali runs Yorkshire-based property development company Evergold.

He bought The Postings three years ago when it was put up for auction for £1.

However, the last trader moved out of there in June and the centre closed.

But Mr Ali says he has been working on a “major change” for the three-acre town centre site.

And he plans to make an announcement before the of the year.

Mr Ali also owns the former Debenhams store and New Look on the High Street.

He inherited tenants 15:17 after they signed a 10-year lease with the building’s previous owners.

15:17’s directors have not responded to repeated requests for comment.

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