Plans to regenerate the City of Wolverhampton have been given a major boost following news that the City of Wolverhampton Council has taken action to buy the landmark development site St George’s Parade.
The site, on the eastern side of the city centre, is a key strategic gateway that forms part of the City Centre Area Action Plan (AAP). It occupies a highly prominent position next to the ring road, 250 metres from the city’s main shopping centre and train station.
Receivers had marketed the site inviting offers over £13 million. The City of Wolverhampton Council’s £13.1 million bid to buy the freehold to the former Sainsbury’s site has now been accepted by the receivers, subject to the exchange of contracts set for the middle of next month.
Concern was growing about the long term future of the site, the action to buy it will now enable new development, jobs and opportunities to come to the area, as well as build on wider strategic regeneration plans for the city centre.
Sainsbury’s do not own the site, but are tied into a long term lease paying a significant amount a year to the owner for the next 9 years. The Council will be having discussions with them to see if they can agree a settlement figure which benefits all parties. This will also significantly reduce the cost to the council.
Cllr Lawrence, said: “We were spurred into action because of concern that as a result of the lease situation someone would come along and leave the site unused for the next decade. This would undermine our ambitious plans to regenerate the heart of our city.”
The Council is enabled to buy the site using a capital investment, money borrowed at very preferential rates. It does not affect the council’s day to day operational budgets for things like education, road repairs and social care.
Until the future use of the site is resolved, the investment will see an ongoing return, while at the same time it is a massive dividend for the City of Wolverhampton in terms of regeneration, jobs and growth.