Tower Grand plans shelved

The rapid regeneration of Wigan town centre hit troubled waters today with news that plans for an iconic tower block are to be shelved.

The slump in residential home sales has forced the Grand Arcade developer to put its eye-catching Tower Grand multi-storey temporarily on ice until the chances of finding occupants increase again.

It is a blow to Wigan's renaissance plans, especially as the 15-floor block has been so-long trumpeted as a key aspect to town's changing skyline.

Other expansion ambitions at the shopping centre – including the demolition of the concrete civic centre on Millgate to make way for restaurants, offices and a possible cinema; the conversion of the former Pennington's furniture store into a restaurant; and the construction of a cafe and office block next door on Millgate – are also likely to be delayed.

When that "phase three" idea was first mooted last December it was suggested that at least some of the 350 people working at the civic centre might move into Tower Grand.

It should not, however, impact on the Metro's nearby Joint Services Centre which will create a new swimming pool, library and council offices on the site of the current baths, Wiend children's centre and municipal buildings.

But Manchester-based Modus Properties says it has had to slow down its programme as it waits for confidence to return to the residential property sector.

Its development director Damian Flood was quoted this week as saying Modus had decided to put Tower Grand on hold for six months, adding: "It's a shame as it is the bookend to the shopping centre, but we just haven't been able to secure the bulk investor purchases with the market as it is."