Businessmen cannot find tenants for £1m buildings in for Granby Street, Leicester
Businessmen who paid £1 million for a section of a street in Leicester city centre say they cannot find anyone who wants to rent space there.
The three partners bought four buildings in Granby Street for £1,010,000 at an auction in London last October.
But Mehil Somani, one of the partners who bought the buildings – which spread from numbers 113 to 133 and incorporate office space and seven retail units – said the investment had not lived up to the businessmen's expectations as nobody wanted to rent any of the space.
"To say we are disappointed is an understatement," he said.
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"Myself and my partners thought we would be investing in a prime section of Leicester city centre which would provide us with an exciting opportunity.
"Granby Street is a major gateway into the city because of the railway station and we want people to shop on it not just pass along it on their way to Highcross.
"Some people are renaming it cheap street and that is not helping us at all. We just can't get the businesses we need to rent the space."
Mr Somani said the partners had hoped to discuss "a way forward" with city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby but had "not been able to get past his personal assistant".
Sir Peter said he had checked and did not have a record of an approach by any of the three businessmen.
"However, if they would like to get in touch with me then I would be delighted to talk to them about the building and the city," he said.
"I have met with many developers over the past year and I am always happy to do so. In fact, I tend to meet them as a matter of routine."
Mr Somani, who lives in Bushby, said his two partners were Hitesh Ghelani, 51, a director of Ghelani cash and carry, in Catherine Street, Leicester, and Ajay Singh, 28, who owns the Blues pub, in Oadby.
He said the buildings were given a guide price at the auction of £450,00 and were described as "potential redevelopment opportunity for residential and student accommodation or hotel (subject to consent)".
A Leicester City Council spokesman said the authority had done much to improve the Granby Street area.
"We have invested heavily in improvements to Granby Street to support retail and will continue to do so," he said.
"The area has already seen over £3 million of investment in improved pavements, new trees and landscaping.
"It is also one of six priority areas in the city set to benefit from a £600,000 scheme to improve shop fronts.
"Recent improvements to the railway station, and work to strengthen office development in the area, will also help retail in this part of the city."
The buildings include the 157-year-old former Thomas Cook Temperance Hotel.
A property group which was given consent to demolish the building – despite a spirited campaign to save it – as part of a development of a seven-storey office block, shops and a restaurant went into administration in September 2010.