Black Country landmark set for major regeneration

One of the Black Country’s 19th century industrial landmarks has been sold to a private buyer in a £240,000 deal arranged by property agents Bond Wolfe.
The 10,000 sq ft Unit 2, Astle Park, West Bromwich, a Grade II listed building, dates back to 1883 and was originally the then new printing and publishing offices for iconic group, Kenrick & Jefferson.
Billed as a rare opportunity to acquire a building of significant historical interest, it has seen better days and is in need of complete refurbishment.
It is hoped that will now happen at a likely cost of several hundred thousands pounds, depending on the proposed new use, probably retail and offices.
West Bromwich-based Bond Wolfe is advising the buyer, who at this stage wishes to remain anonymous, on the best way forward.
But it is in a prominent location on the main High Street, fronting the Astle Park retail park, close to where a huge new Tesco supermarket is being built and approximately a quarter of a mile from the main pedestrianised shopping centre.
James Mattin, managing partner, said it was envisaged that the building would complement its surroundings.
He said: “It has huge potential and the ability to feed off trade already well developed in and around the area.
“Anybody who has gone round it has been staggered at the quality of the work. There are still the original oak panelling, fireplaces and the K&J inscriptions above the doorways. But the problem has been finding someone with both the vision and the finance – it needs a lot spent on it.
“But hopefully it can soon be part of the regeneration of West Bromwich. This is the chance to restore a building of real local significance, give it the opportunity for a new lease of life and create much-needed jobs in the process.”
It is believed to have been empty since the mid 1990s when Kenrick and Jefferson moved out. The print room was on the ground floor and offices above.
Astle Retail Park tenants include William Hill, Subway, Nike, Next and Marks & Spencer.
The £200 million Tesco development, to be anchored by a 144,000 sq ft Tesco Extra, on which work recently started, has also attracted Next, Primark, JD Sports, Bank and Outfit, other shops, restaurants and a cinema.
Scheduled to open in Spring 2013, the complex is set to transform the face of the town centre, creating more than 2,000 jobs.