A new business centre described as the ‘crowning glory’ of Mansfield District Council’s town centre regeneration vision is still empty more than two months after its official launch.
The ribbon was cut on the £2.4m Queen’s Place development by Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton in November - claiming it represented ‘the best in commitment from a local authority to turn a regeneration project into a reality’.
The Queen’s Street business centre created two new retail units and six offices between the town’s new multi-million pound transport interchange and the market square.
At the launch, council leaders said it was hoped the offices would help to address the shortage of high quality office space in the town centre.
It was also anticipated that there would be a clamour for the retail units, described as ‘two of the most visible window spaces and frequented locations in town’.
But almost 10 weeks later there have still been no takers for either the retail or office units, although the authority told Chad that agents Innes England are speaking to interested parties.
Coun Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for economic regeneration, said: “Queen’s Place was only completed in November and already our agents Innes England are talking to several interested retailers and restaurateurs.
“These negotiations can be complex and take time, but we have enough positive interest to give us confidence that the council will be able to secure high quality tenants, despite these tough times.”
A special website aimed at marketing the units states that retailers would benefit from extensive footfall from bus and train station users, plus 9.38m visitors to the town centre each year.
But it states that on top of rent, which is not disclosed on the website, businesses will also be expected to pay business rates, VAT, a service charge and a two per cent levy on its rateable value to Mansfield BID.
The building project generated nearly half a million pounds for the local construction industry, with a fifth of the contractors involved in the building hailing from Mansfield.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor Egginton said: “It is hard to imagine what this part of Mansfield was like 15 or so years ago. We have created a gateway for the 13,000 people who travel through each day.
“It represents the best in commitment from a local authority to turn a regeneration project into a reality.”