A significant blaze started at Liverpool's Littlewoods building at about 7 p.m. local time (18:00 GMT) when fire brigades were called to the building. About 50 firefighters remained on the scene later into the night, and said that the fire was under control by 1:30 a.m. (12:00 GMT).
The 1930s art deco structure has been empty since 2003, though it has been announced recently that the site will be transformed.
The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, tweeted that the fire was "a real setback."
An investigation into the fire is now underway.
The building opened its doors in 1938 and was part of the Littlewoods sports betting empire established by Sir John Moores in 1923.