The owner of Churchill Square has confirmed it has sold the shopping centre to Ikea for an estimated £145 million.
The Swedish furniture retailer plans to convert the empty Debenhams store on-site into a new Ikea store, which is expected to open within two years.
Stores at Churchill Square – which gets more than 11 million visitors annually – will continue trading while the department store is being revamped.
The site includes the Chartwell Court residential tower block and three car parks, two of which are freehold.
Cindy Andersen, Ingka Centres managing director, said: “Brighton is known as a welcoming and progressive city so it is a real privilege to take up responsibility for delivering a revitalised meeting place of which the many people can be truly proud.
“We are excited to strengthen our portfolio with a well-established shopping destination in the heart of the vibrant and growing city of Brighton and Hove.
“It fits perfectly into our global expansion strategy, allowing us to transform a traditional retail space to a meeting place that is much more than just a place to shop.”
Ingka Centres said it hoped to develop Churchill Square infrastructure and energy efficiency and and support Brighton and Hove City Council’s “drive to establish a thriving local circular economy”.
The former Debenhams – the largest unit in Churchill Square – has been empty since 2020.
This comes after the parent company, Ingka Group, bought the Kings Mall, in Hammersmith, and opened its first smaller scale store, Livat, in March last year, selling home accessories alongside a Swedish deli and kitchen and bathroom planning services.
The owner of Churchill Square, Abrdn, said: “We can confirm that the Abrdn UK Shopping Centre Trust has sold Churchill Square, Brighton’s main shopping centre to Ingka Centres, part of the Ingka Group which also includes IKEA Retail.
“Having held the asset since the trust was launched in 2005, it was felt the time had come to sell the centre and use the proceeds for other purposes. Knight Frank advised through the sale process.”
According to the trade journal React News, Abrdn had hoped to sell the centre for £250 million when it was put on the market last year but it agreed a deal with Ingka Centres for £145 million.