FULHAM Town Hall is set to become a 'quintessentially British' shopping emporium after Hammersmith and Fulham council agreed to sell the building last week.
The historic grade II listed Victorian building in Fulham Broadway was put up for sale by the authority last year in order to save money.
After receiving 12 bids for the building, the council whittled it down to two finalists both offering ambitious and innovative plans; one for a boutique hotel the other for a lifestyle emporium.
Despite wide spread approval for the hotel, the multi-million pound deal is being negotiated with American retailer Dory Ventures, whose main UK brand is quality children's products company, Maclaren.
The retailer proposed to turn the building into a 'quintessentially British' emporium which would house the flagship Maclaren showroom, high quality boutique shops, a restaurant and 15 flats in the upper floors.
The council chamber is to be turned into an educational bar, which will be available for community events and lectures.
However campaigners who want to protect the heritage and history of the town hall have expressed their disappointment at the council's decision.
Maya Donelan, secretary of the Fulham Society, said: "We're disappointed with the choice because we felt that the hotel option gave more public access to larger parts of the building.
"We felt that the hotel was much better suited to a building like this and would have done less damage.
"This new scheme will be turning the top floors of the building into residential flats, so there will be no access for the public.
"Another thing is that Fulham is not in central London so will this succeed at becoming a unique experience that attracts people to the area.
"We have concerns about its future."
The scheme went on show at a public exhibition held at the town hall in December, where residents raised fears about the long term sustainability of the project.
As a result the council and commercial property experts Lambert Smith Hampton issued an independent report to assess the retail viability of the building before giving it the thumbs up.
Deputy leader of the council, councillor Nick Botterill, said: "This exciting and innovative scheme will provide Fulham Town Hall with a new lease of life, while respecting the building's rich historical character and public heritage.
"We are confident that this scheme will reinvigorate Fulham, improve the council's finances by significantly reducing our debt level, create numerous jobs and launch a new era of prosperity for this famous building."
Costing taxpayers £1m a year to maintain, the town hall has only housed parking attendants, housing officers, cemeteries staff and registrars since staff were moved to Hammersmith Town Hall in 1965.