It has been described as unsightly and underused – but now this city centre office block is preparing for the dawn of a new era with a transformation into bars, shops and restaurants.
The new retail and leisure development would transform part of School Street, in Wolverhampton.
Under the plans, the building known as Network House, which currently houses shop buildings on its ground floor and six floors of office space on top, would be demolished.
But the applicants behind the scheme, Conygar Hanover Street Limited, says any loss of office space would be outweighed by the new retail and leisure hub it will create.
In an application submitted to Wolverhampton City Council, planning agent Savills states: “The wider benefits of the scheme are clear.
“The proposals remove an unsightly underused office building and significantly enhance the appearance of the immediate area.”
They claim it will boost the ‘health and vitality’ of the city centre and its evening economy.
Under the plans, Network House would be demolished and replaced with a three-storey building with shops, financial services, restaurants and cafes, bars and takeaway shops on the bottom floor, with leisure facilities above it.
The applicants say there is plenty of other office space in the city.
Regeneration chief Councillor Peter Bilson said: “I’m sure this would be good news for the city.
“It is an outline planning application at this stage and details would have to be drawn up but the likelihood is this is something I would want to see supported.
“It is an interesting development proposal in a part of the town which is really coming on and is known as west side. As a completely new development, it would create new jobs.”
Network House is bordered by Darling Street Methodist Church on one side.
Nobody from Conygar Hanover Street Limited was available to comment on the application, which will be considered by planning chiefs in the coming months.
It is the latest redevelopment proposed for the city centre.
Work is forging ahead on a new £60 million Sainsbury’s store in Raglan Street, while permission has been granted for the £10m transformation of the Sunbeam Factory, off Penn Road island.
The Mander Shopping Centre has also unveiled plans for a revamp, which will see a new department store opened. It is also hoped it will go some way to easing the pain of the failed £300 million Summer Row development.