The move follows planning approval granted last year to transform the adjacent landmark department store building into an apartment complex consisting of more than 300 luxury flats.
First opened by James Beattie in 1877, the historic shop premises is being developed by private investors SSYS Beatties Ltd, who bought the building for £3 million in February 2019. The adjoining car park, including the Gorgeous nightclub on the ground floor, were built much later than the original store.
The site, in Skinner Street at the junction with School Street, is set to be redeveloped into residential apartments, with the Gorgeous nightclub to be relocated as part of the plans.
In a statement submitted alongside the application, Dave Carroll Planning – the agents acting on behalf of applicants SSYS Beatties Ltd – said: “The proposal is to demolish the car park, add a car parking basement with a commercial ground floor and also six full floors of between 19 and 21 flats per floor.
“There will also be seventh and eighth residential floors with shared amenity space. Nearly all the flats will have at least one balcony – but all of them will have access to communal open space in the five amenity decks provided.
“The Gorgeous nightclub will be replaced by commercial floor space and relocated to a different site within the Beatties ‘estate’. In terms of the car park, the proposal now is to keep 45 spaces on the ground floor with a single level basement car park of 82 further cars, providing 127 spaces for residents, shoppers and for commercial users.
“There are three listed buildings close by – the Methodist Church on School Street, the Diamond Banqueting Suite on Skinner Street and WM Evans warehouse building which is on School Street.
“The site’s city centre location makes it accessible by public transport and within walking distance of all major amenities and it is within half-a-mile of the main train station and bus interchange. The proposed new Beatties car park replacement building will be comprised of eight stories of residential use over a commercial ground floor,” added the statement.
“However, it will have two of the topmost floors set back, and not visible from School Street. The majority of the façade will be comprised of red brick to match existing buildings with a white glazed tile around shop fronts and a darker brick within the window inserts.”
Councillor Lynne Moran said: “I think city centres up and down the country are changing in terms of the built and retail environment. Wolverhampton looks forward to large improvements in the city centre, enhancing access and the night-time economy.
“We anticipate restaurants and places of entertainment in addition to services. In light of all this, city centre flats will be quite attractive to a section of people who do not currently live in the immediate area. This is likely to be a good thing in addition to taking some pressure off the need for social, affordable housing.
“This particular development is the largest I have seen for a while and I am sure a range of questions will be asked about potential car parking, if there is to be any, and how waste management will be suitably managed.”
Fellow St Peter’s councillor Qaiser Azeem added: “The redevelopment of the former Beatties car park and Gorgeous nightclub into new apartments will be a welcome addition to the city centre. City centres across the country are going through a transition, as a lot of businesses have moved online. This changing nature of city centres has brought many retail outlets and new build developments to Wolverhampton city centre.
“The new apartments will bring their own challenges in terms of waste management and car parking, which needs to be incorporated at the planning stage. I believe this development will make Wolverhampton a more vibrant and welcoming city centre where people will also be living side by side.”