Deal to sell Beatties may be close as 'advanced negotiations' continue
A deal to sell Beatties could be close after it was revealed a prospective buyer is in "advanced negotiations" over the historic building.
Discussions on the site have gathered pace over the last fortnight following the collapse of a planned takeover by the University of Wolverhampton.
A private investor is now in the box seat to secure the city centre landmark after lodging a bid of around £3 million.
Property agent Allsop, which is marketing the site, said talks were at an advanced stage and that a deal could be done by the end of the year.
The bidder is believed to have held discussions with the city council over its intentions for Beatties. Bosses have said they are keen to support whoever takes it over and want to avoid sitting empty for a prolonged period.
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An Allsop spokesman said: "We are in advanced negotiations with one particular party. We are hoping to progress with them shortly."
House of Fraser will move out of the department store in the new year to switch to the Mander Centre, leaving the building empty and bringing an end to more than 140 years of history in Wolverhampton.
Last week, council leader Ian Brookfield called on senior political figures to help ensure the Beatties building is not left to "rot and decay for years". He also said he wanted to explore whether funding would be available to help secure the future of the site.
Councillor Brookfield has written to Mayor Andy Street, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in attempt to find a solution.
He said: "I have requested a commitment that it would be wholly unacceptable for the building to be left to rot and decay for years by an irresponsible owner or developer and called for urgent discussions with them and their officers about how we can leverage regional and national funding opportunities – such as the Town Centre Fund or the Future High Street Fund – to provide direct support."
The city council previously toyed with the idea of buying Beatties before throwing its weight behind the university's vision but the leader has since said the authority could not justify spending public money on it.