A grant of £3.5 million is being sought to help get ambitious plans for new shops and offices in Wolverhampton city centre off the ground.
The city council wants to build a £10.6m complex next to the city’s bus station.
But it is going to go to the Government to ask for funding to cover some of the costs of building and running it for the first three years. A report going before councillors reveals that deputy leader Councillor Peter Bilson and enterprise director Tim Johnson have been given permission to approach the government for the money.
Most of the cash will go towards the capital costs of the scheme but £500,000 of it is to make up the loss of income the council says it will suffer during the first three years after construction starts.The council is planning to borrow the rest of the money to pay for the development.
Around 250 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the scheme.
The city council also plans to buy the existing buildings at the bus station, which houses a Sainsbury’s store, union offices and a transport information office and the landmark Queen’s Building next to the bus station which contains a Costa coffee shop.
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.
Councillor Roger Lawrence, leader of the city council, said: “The project is contingent on a number of different things, including pre-lets.”
It comes at a difficult time for the authority which has recently announced that it must slash 1,000 jobs as it tries to save £89 million following cuts to its government funding.
Former mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett said more needed to be done to regenerate the whole of the city centre.
He said: “This project is not guaranteed in the slightest.
“The council can do what it wants but without the rebuild of the rail station or the Metro coming alongside it I think it’s far from feasible.”
Council officials are making a bid to the Government’s growing places fund – a £500m pot to help projects that will create jobs or housing.