TORQUAY'S most prominent empty and eyesore building is to be given a new lease of life — giving the town centre a much-needed boost.
National coffee chain Costa is to take over the former Hogshead site in Union Street.
The anchor store is applying for planning permission to give the front of the store new branding and a new look.
It is believed the firm's current outlet will also stay in town.
Paul Bettesworth (pictured), of agents Bettesworths, who helped secure the deal, said the building has been 'a difficult void' for the town centre.
He said: "It's a really positive message that another multiple operator has shown confidence on Torquay as a trading location especially when considering the scale of the unit in comparison to their others in other similar-sized centres. From what we see on the plans, an extensive refurbishment is planned both inside and out.
"Torquay has fewer large, anchor-sized stores than many centres, so to see one of our most prominent shops transformed from an eyesore is an immeasurable boost.
"The modern high street experience must go beyond simply shopping otherwise it is just competing too directly with the purely functional click and pay of internet retail. The presence of trusted and popular branded coffee operators is an important feature in expanding the non-retail offering of a dynamic High Street."
The news comes as Coffee#1 prepares to open its doors a few doors away in Fleet Street.
Tomorrow will see the former post office building back in business in a site which has also stood empty.
Mr Bettesworth said: "The large store will be designed in the typically comfortable and inviting style of Coffee #1 with large feature fireplaces and shelves of books around the premises."
He added: "Survey evidence shows undeniably branded coffee representation positively affects consumer choice in where to shop.
"It also extends the length of the customer stay in those town centres.
"It's not just the customers either. Other retailers, both existing and potential, like to see strong representation of the better branded coffee companies in their pitch.
"Retailers do follow on from the occupation of decent coffee retailers. This in turn is a great boost when considering the recovery of Torquay's high street."