A FORMER city centre bookshop which was ravaged by a huge fire could soon be occupied after a major renovation.

The former Waterstones store in Above Bar Street was gutted when a fire ripped through the bookshop in March 2018.

The store has been unoccupied since the blaze.

But it could now be brought back into use, according to letting agents Green and Partners.

A spokesperson for the London-based lettings firm said renovation work had been completed and they were now looking for a retailer to take over the empty store.

It comes as the Daily Echo can also reveal how a man arrested on suspicion on arson following the fire has been released by police.

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: “The 40-year-old man arrested on suspicion of arson was released with no further action.”

As previously reported, more than 30 firefighters rushed to the scene of the fire which broke out around midday on March 6, 2018.

Staff and customers were evacuated prior to the arrival of firefighters, who raced to the scene from St Mary’s, Redbridge, Hightown, Eastleigh and Fareham.

Above Bar Street was closed in both directions while firefighters used breathing apparatus and hose jets to get the blaze under control.

Waterstones was gutted by the fire, while neighbouring Barclays bank was also damaged due to the amount of smoke that poured from the doors of the book shop.

The Barclays branch was not reopened until August 2018.

While Waterstones will not move back into the store, the bookshop chain continues to have a presence at Westquay.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

The newly renovated store is available for lease, with Green and Partners saying that they will release rent prices upon application by interested parties.