GLOBE HOUSE: Apartments plan for historic former Walsall college building
The historic former Walsall Institute of Science and Art could be converted into more than 30 studio apartments.
Owners of Globe House, in Bradford Place, have submitted a proposal to Walsall Council to transform the iconic 19th century building, which is now used as offices.
It was built in 1888 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria the year before and used as a college for for more than 110 years.
Globe Properties Ltd bought the Grade II building in 2004 and converted into offices which housed its headquarters while other space was let out to private companies and Walsall Council.
But it said in recent years the occupancy levels had dropped to as little as 30 per cent and so are now looking to move out and convert Globe House into an alternative use.
Ideas for a new venture there have included a nightclub, nursery, hospice or medical practice but none of these were deemed viable.
The external appearance and historical features of Globe House will be mainly unaltered by the proposed redevelopment.
It is located near the Cenotaph, Saddlers Centre and Bradford Place bus terminal and Globe Properties believe residential use is the best proposal for it.
Agents J Mason Associates said: “Globe Property Ltd purchased the building in 2004 and sought to bring it back into use as a business centre and work carried out with Walsall Regeneration suggested a potential demand for office accommodation in the town centre.
“The Business Centre originally operated with reasonable success, achieving
occupancy rates of circa 70 per cent, but with the financial downturn in 2008 the centre began to struggle and in the period since then the building has only achieved occupancy rates of around 30-40 per cent and a significant portion of that has been Globe Property itself.
“The building has been marketed for use as a whole building or by individual floors and individual rooms, but none of these options has produced a viable way of taking the building forward in its current use.
“Globe Property are looking to downsize their own occupancy and consequently a new use for the building is required.
“Research shows a surplus of office accommodation available in Walsall Town Centre and the space currently available in Globe House remains on the market but with no interest.
“Alternative uses have therefore been considered for the property including retail use, but this was not considered a practical solution for this building and again there is a surplus of retail accommodation vacant within the town including in the Victorian Arcade.
“Other uses considered include a Nursery, Night Club, Hospice and GP Surgery but all have proved unviable.
“The proposal is therefore for the conversion of the building into 35 studios and apartments for residential use.
“Residential use provides the building with a viable use moving forward.
“The town centre can accommodate residential use and this is the only route that has been identified that is capable of generating the significant funds needed to protect the heritage asset.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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