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Firms line up to fill space at The Public

Sandwell | News | Published:

Firms are poised to fill the remaining empty space at controversial West Browmich arts centre The Public, potentially scuppering plans by the council to relocate staff from rented buildings into the space to save money.

Firms are poised to fill the remaining empty space at controversial West Browmich arts centre The Public, potentially scuppering plans by the council to relocate staff from rented buildings into the space to save money.

The borough's finance boss announced plans to move staff in as the council battles to save £75 million over the next four years. However, Linda Saunders, managing director of the New

Street centre said today a number of companies had shown interest in empty space and it was hoped a let would soon be secured.

Office space on level four of the £72m centre has failed to attract any tenants, more than two years after the centre opened its doors. The New Street centre however has successfully rented out all of its 'lily pad' offices.

Mrs Saunders, said progress is now being made on securing tenants for the remainder of the space and she was hopeful it would be tied up before the situation is reviewed in March.

Cabinet member for Strategic Resources, Councillor Steve Eling, had initially given a deadline of March to secure new tenants and has insisted if a commercial let is not found the council will press ahead with moving staff in.

Mrs Saunders, who refused to disclose the names of any companies interested in moving in, said: "We have had somebody round who is very interested in it," she said.

"They have got all the plans for the space and we are waiting to hear back from that.

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"It is the open end of level four which is just under 7,000 sq ft which Bond Wolfe are marketing for us, it is the only empty space we have left."

Sandwell Council has been warned that if the building is not fully used, leading to itno longer having a viable business plan, funding bodies could claw back millions.

Councillor Eling added: "We simply are not leaving it empty, it is going to have to earn some money."

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