Planned transformation of Wolverhampton pub hailed by business leaders
Business chiefs have hailed the announcement that plans to transform a city pub have been expanded.
More rooms will be added to a new hotel above the Moon Under Water on Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton.
The city will also become home to the national Wetherspoons museum.
Councillor Harman Banger, economy boss at Wolverhampton Council, said the popular pub chain’s revamp, which will create around 50 jobs, would help continue improvements in the city centre.
Lichfield Street is set to be pedestrianised while the nearby train station is currently being rebuilt.
Councillor Banger said: “This exciting project will help transform one of our key city centre streets.
“It will breathe new life into this building and forms part of the £1.1 billion investment in the city centre, further demonstrating the growing confidence in our city.
“It will deliver a significant number of jobs and for a national chain like Wetherspoon to choose Wolverhampton for its national Heritage Centre is an honour.”
Ninder Johal, a former Black Country Chamber of Commerce president, said Wetherspoons had bucked the trend with its success. He said: “Over the last few years we have seen a steady decline in the retail landscape with many well-known brands disappearing.
“So this is a fantastic antidote which shows if retailers and business have got their products and services correct there is room for growth.”
The pub will remain open while the work is carried out.
The 40,000 sq ft space above the pub, with its Art Deco frontage, has been empty for more than 30 years.
It was previously home for the old Co-op store which opened in 1931.
There were plans for Central Youth Theatre to take over the space back in 2015 to create a new arts centre, but a delay in drawing up plans meant the group had to hand back a £384,000 grant it had received from the Arts Council.
The following year the YMCA put in plans worth £6m, to turn the space into an area for the YMCA Black Country Group, providing youth accommodation. But this also appears to have fallen through. The vast five-storey building, where The Moon Under Water is based on the ground floor, takes up half of one side of Lichfield Street but only the pub is based there currently.
Its neighbour, the old tavern O’Connells closed about five years ago. Most of the 40,000sq ft premises is currently derelict. Councillors have previously called it an ‘eyesore’.