Mander House, the high-rise office block that sits above the Mander shopping centre, appeared to be just another empty property in the city centre, Conservative group leader Councillor Wendy Thompson told Wednesday's night’s full council meeting.
She said: “Is the council aware of any proposals for the future usage of Mander House in the Mander Centre, which presently appears to be empty?”
The council’s cabinet member for city economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “The owners have told us that there is interest in both the Mander Centre and Mander House off the back of ongoing investments that they have brought into the city.
"Their asset managers are processing long and short-term lets whilst a comprehensive redevelopment plan is put in place.
“Rest assured that this council will always continue to support whoever wants to come and invest in this city, which is the right and proper thing for a responsible authority to do.”
Councillor Thompson replied: “This is obviously adding to the considerable amount of empty properties that we already have in the city centre. So this is not exactly a vote of confidence in the city then, which is a pity.
“Some of us are a little uncertain as to who the ownership of the Mander Centre is now under. Could we please have a briefing note as to who the owners are, because we are told that ownership has changed. I’m not quite sure when it changed, but I believe it was in the last two years.”
Councillor Simkins said he would write to Councillor Thompson to clarify those points.
The Mander centre, named after the city’s historic paint manufacturing family, was constructed in the 1960s, with the main part opening in 1968.