Interchange project moves forward

The next phase of a multi-million pound Wolverhampton city centre regeneration scheme has taken a major step forward with the submission of a planning application.

In September, the Council confirmed an investment of up to £10.6 million to deliver new offices and shops at the Interchange. Detailed plans for a new mixed office and retail building, situated next to the bus and railway stations have now been put forward to the local planning authority.

The building, to be known as Interchange 10 and comprising 36,000 sq. ft. of high quality office accommodation arranged over three floors, will be constructed to BREEAM Excellent standard, making it one of the most sustainable buildings in the city.

The offices will sit above 12,400 sq. ft. of leisure and retail accommodation. Wolverhampton City Council is funding the scheme and its development partner, Ion Property Developments Limited is managing the delivery process.

If approved, it is intended that work will start on site in April 2014 with the building taking 15 months to complete.

The first element of the Interchange scheme comprising the new bus station, access improvements to the railway station, a commercial building which is home to Sainsbury’s Local and the refurbishment of the Queens Building was completed in 2012.

As part of a comprehensive approach to delivering the Interchange master plan, the Council and Ion, working with Centro and the Canal & River Trust, are also finalising proposals with Network Rail and Virgin Trains for a new railway station building and a refurbished/extended multi-storey car park.

This will be complemented by Centro’s proposals for an extension of the Midland Metro into the station area.

Councillor Peter Bilson said: “The Interchange is a main gateway to the city centre and is a strategic regeneration priority for the Council, as demonstrated by our commitment to invest in this important building.

“We are aware of a number of enquiries for Grade A office space and this is our response to meet that demand and to grow the local economy through the creation of high quality employment floorspace in the city centre.

“The submission of the detailed planning application marks a major step forward in the regeneration of the city centre. We hope that by investing in Interchange 10, we can lead the way for private investment to be attracted to the city to deliver more quality office and retail/family leisure accommodation.

“We are already in discussions with a number of potential occupiers for the building which is extremely encouraging.”

Ion’s Director Rob Mason said: “We have been working very closely with the City Council on these proposals which will see much needed Grade A office accommodation delivered in the City Centre.

“We are confident the accessible location and high environmental standards will prove attractive to inward investors.”