All change for Dewsbury town centre

Empire House, Dewsbury
Empire House, Dewsbury

Investors looking for opportunities in Dewsbury are being offered the chance to buy a prominent town centre site.

Landmark office building Empire House has been put on the market with an asking price of £1.5m.

It comes in the same week that a potential buyer for the Princess of Wales Precinct moved closer to exchanging contracts.

The sale is being handled by London-based Jones Lang LaSalle.

Its retail director, Kevin Donohue, told the Reporter: “The precinct is currently under offer. It’s a good operator so it would be good news for Dewsbury.”

He said it was hoped that contracts would be exchanged within 10 days.

Empire House has been seen as a white elephant because of past struggles to attract enough tenants to fill all seven storeys.

But owner Targetfollow spent £400,000 on a refurbishment in December 2008 and Kirklees Council moved around 150 staff to offices there last summer.

The council is now accountable for 20 per cent of the £174,541 gross rent generated each year.

A spokesman said its lease would transfer to the new owners and there were no plans to relocate staff.

Estate agent Sanderson Weatherall is looking for offers in excess of £1.485m.

Partner Richard Dunn said: “This well-located office investment is anchored by Kirklees Council and offers excellent asset management angles and tremendous value-for-money at the asking price.”

Elsewhere, town centre pub the Principal is rumoured to be closing.

Owner Bramwell Pub Company was unavailable for comment.

But Chamber of Trade president Trish Makepeace said she had learned that the Northgate pub would soon close its doors.

She said: “It’s another big loss. It attracts people to the town and brings people to the arcade and the market.

“But it’s a good thing that somebody is buying the precinct. It will take away the uncertainty from that area of the town.

“It will be interesting to see who is taking it over and what their plans are for the future.”