An ambitious £10.6 million plan to build shops and offices next to a new £22.5m bus station, creating up to 250 jobs, was unveiled today.
Wolverhampton City Council bosses hope to build 50,000 sq ft of office and retail space on land which has stood empty and surrounded by hoardings for the past two years.
The glass-fronted offices and shops would be created next to the city’s landmark bus station, where a two-storey block of shops and offices has already been built.
Potential retail tenants have already been identified, council bosses say, while businesses which require top quality office space have also been in touch.
The announcement comes just weeks after it was revealed up to 1,000 jobs will be cut at Wolverhampton City Council by 2015 amid cuts of £89 million. But Wolverhampton’s regeneration boss defended the investment and said the new buildings would help ‘kickstart the economy.'
Councillor Peter Bilson said: “We are working hard to attract investment from the private sector but we cannot expect them to do this alone and it is vital we prove that we have the confidence in our city by putting our money where our mouth is.
“The situation we find ourselves in is very difficult,” he continued.
“But we have an obligation to provide leadership for the city and we need to regenerate the centre and look at ways forward.
“The way out of that is through economic planning and regeneration.”
The city council also plans to buy the existing buildings at the interchange, which already houses a Sainsbury’s store, union offices and a transport information office.
It also intends to buy the existing Queen Building adjacent to the bus station.
Bosses say the investment will help give the city council greater control over what goes on the site, at the end of Piper’s Row.
They also aim to sell the buildings in the future once they have been developed.
The council will borrow money to help pay for the development.