A landmark Dudley town centre building where Woolworths was originally located is undergoing £100,000 of restoration works.
The improvements are being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and by Dudley Council through the Dudley Townscape Heritage Programme which provides grant assistance to historic buildings centred around the marketplace and neighbouring streets.
Work will see original tiles being revealed, repaired and restored, windows reinstated to their historic form and the shopfront being enhanced, restoring the front of the building back to how it appeared in the early part of the 20th century.
The work will build on the town centre improvements and the restoration of the Grade II* listed drinking fountain and transform the building, adding to the marketplace appeal as well as securing its future.
Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:
"The Plaza Mall building was built in the 1930s, designed by Woolworth’s Chief Architect, Bruce Donaldson, in its in-house style. Many of our residents will have fond memories of the original Woolworth’s store that it once housed.
We are undertaking these important works to restore and enhance this building, which is Art Deco inspired and makes a significant architectural and historic contribution to the High Street."
The building will have scaffolding to its exterior during works, but business inside will operate as normal, where Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Tony Swannie, leaseholder at Plaza Mall, added:
"I’m delighted that Plaza Malls can form part of this project. We hope it will help the building to appear much more welcoming not only to the shoppers but also for the businesses that operate there and depend on high levels of footfall in the town when the lockdown restrictions are relaxed."
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
"We are excited to support Dudley Council in the restoration of Plaza Mall. with money raised by the National Lottery players. This project will contribute significantly towards ongoing plans to regenerate Dudley Town Centre and rejuvenate its appeal to local shoppers and visitors."
Work to 14 New Street is also being carried out in Dudley under the Townscape Heritage Programme. The restoration to the Fountain Arcade and several other projects in Wolverhampton Street are expected to get underway soon.