The Executive Member for Environment, Finance and Governance and the Director of Environment and Community Services submitted a report for the Executive’s consideration. The purpose of the report was to seek approval for the demolition of the former Slam nightclub.
The building was located in Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter, under the A66. It fronted onto Exchange Square, with the rear facing Wilson Street. The building was on a main thoroughfare from the retail core to the Railway Station, Boho Zone and Middlehaven.
The property was last used as the Slam bar and nightclub, which closed its doors to customers in 2016. The building had been vacant since that date. Until recently, whilst Middlesbrough Council owned the freehold, the property had been subject to a 125 year lease. That lease had now been surrendered by the leaseholder.
As a result of water ingress at the bridge joint, one of the A66 columns needed significant, imminent repair works to make it safe, which would require part-demolition of the building.
For the reasons summarised in the submitted report, it was an opportune time to consider the future of the building; to assess its commercial value versus maintenance and risk factors; and, to understand if the space had a role in opening up links from central Middlesbrough to the Boho Zone, Middlehaven area and Historic Quarter.
Following partial demolition to carry out essential bridge repair works some reinstatement works would have been necessary to make the building water-tight and safe.
Minimal works would have been undertaken to achieve that, which would have left the building in an unlettable condition. That would have inevitably led to further deterioration over time and, if the building was subsequently let, would have created access issues and would have cost implications for further inspections of the bridge and any future maintenance requirements. Therefore, that option was not recommended.
Sale of the building - That was not recommended, given the ongoing need for access to the A66 and its column supports.
Operational use - the property could have been an operational/storage facility for the Council. That was not recommended for the following reasons:
· operational or storage space may have been better suited to an out of town centre location;
· it would not have generated any income and required operational costs, utilities and business rates.
· the Council would have carried the maintenance liability; and
· there were potential access issues for bridge inspections.
That the demolition of the former Slam nightclub be approved.
As a minimum, the Council was required to part-demolish the building in order to carry out essential A66 repair work. The costs to partly demolish and then reinstate the building to a letting standard would have cost almost as much as full demolition. Leaving the building in-situ would have, in the future, created access issues for general and principal inspections of the overbridge structure and supporting columns and additional cost if further remedial or maintenance works were ever required to the bridge columns or spans.