Scaffolding has been erected outside a former city centre car dealership offering hope the eyesore building may finally get redeveloped.
The Lower Bridge Street premises, which features a 70-space roof-top car park, was once home to the Quick’s Ford showroom but has been empty since November 2007.
However, there is uncertainty around what the future holds for the prominent three-storey building that dates from the 1960s.
Harrow Estates, which manages the site on behalf of the undisclosed owners, is unwilling to discuss what work is taking place or any plans, including whether the existing structure may be demolished.
Asbestos has been removed by specialist contractors in recent months. And a large skip can be viewed through the window suggesting the building is being cleared.
In the past it had been rumoured the site was likely to be used for student accommodation although the latest story is that it is likely to accommodate between 35-40 luxury apartments with a mini supermarket on the ground floor.
There has been speculation in the past and currently that Sainsbury’s wants to open one of its Local stores on the ground floor but this has always been denied.
Spokeswoman Angharad Lynch said last month: “While we are always interested in new sites this isn’t one we have involvement in.”
At one time there were plans for the building to be converted into a restaurant, with a retail component, after planning permission was granted in January 2008 but this consent has long since expired.
Last year the eyesore property was the focus of a fun exercise, as part of Heritage Week, with the public asked to imagine what might take its place leading to a satirical response about design standards in Chester.
Entrants were invited to go along to a workshop and sketch a design in an initiative backed by organisations including Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), Chester Civic Trust and Cheshire Society of Architects with serious entries received along with the not-so-serious.
Architects Anonymous created their own humorously annotated fantastical design, which was submitted and also sent to The Chronicle.
Under ‘our vision’, the satirical design brief read: “Our potpourri of proposals celebrates the city’s history and heritage – protecting, promoting and utilising its assets to maximise their full potential. A bland business offer that replicates every other second tier city in the UK offers no differentiation.”