Harrogate Victoria Shopping Centre value falls by almost £4million in 10 years
Two decades later, things are now very different with the rapid emergence of online shopping and the Covid pandemic dramatically changing people's shopping habits for good.
This changing state of the high street has been highlighted in new figures which show the shopping centre is worth less than 20% of what it was valued at a decade ago.
The figures from Harrogate Borough Council - which owns but does not run the shopping centre at Station Square - show its estimated value has fallen from £4.8million in 2011 to just £925,000 last year.
And the latest evaluation is an even bigger drop from when the building lease was bought by developers for £23million in 1998 ahead of a revamp of the building which was initially inspired by the famous Palladian Basilica in Italy.
The council has this week confirmed it has no plans to sell the shopping centre and also said it believes the building will play a key role on the high street for years to come - especially with the £11million Gateway project which will get underway later this year.
A council spokesperson said: "Like all high streets up and down the country, the demand for and value of some commercial properties has declined over the last few years.
"There are numerous reasons for this, not least the increase in online sales as well as the introduction of out-of-town retail parks and the global pandemic over the last two years.
“We aspire to continue this drive in footfall by working with colleagues at North Yorkshire County Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver the £11million Transforming Cities Fund project.
"This project, which has been supported by government funding, will begin later this year to improve sustainable travel options and provide a better town centre environment to help support the local economy."
The council also said its new destination management plan - which was approved yesterday and aims to boost the value of the district's visitor economy from £600million to £835million by 2030 - will also help drive footfall on the high street.
It said the plan will "position the Harrogate district as a first choice destination for tourism, large-scale events and investment."
The council added: "The visitor economy makes up 14.3% of the economy in Harrogate district and tourism plays a significant role in helping to ensure this continues.”
In numbers: how the Victoria Shopping Centre's value has declined.
2020/21 - £925,000
2019/20 - £2,200,000
2018/19 - £3,500,000
2017/18 - £3,950,000
2016/17 - £4,100,000
2015/16 - £4,100,000
2014/15 - £4,125,000
2013/14 - £4,070,000
2012/13 - £4,150,000
2011/12 - £4,800,000
The company which runs the Victoria Shopping Centre declined to comment.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter