Mayor keen to get rid of old post office in Bishop Street, Leicester
Council tax-payers are footing a £30,000-a-year bill as officials struggle to sell Leicester's former main post office.
Leicester City Council purchased the property for £1.4 million in 2008, intending to spend a further £5 million turning it into a customer service centre, but ditched the scheme two years later because of the cost.
Today, members of the city council's audit and risk committee were set to discuss the future of the disused, five-storey building, which was built in the 1930s.
A report, prepared by officials, revealed that business rates, security costs and service charges linked to the post office have set the council back £30,000 annually since 2008.
However, the council said it has had more than 20 potential buyers view the property.
The unnamed parties have said they would look to turn it into anything from a restaurant or bar to a place of worship or a boutique hotel.
Despite the interest, however, no deal has been concluded and the building remains available to anyone willing to offer about £1 million for it.
A city council spokesperson said: "We have had more than 20 viewings of the Bishop Street post office site to date. The most recent viewing took place late last week.
"The sort of interest people viewing the property have shown includes developing it as a bar or restaurant, using it for educational purposes or as an exhibition space, and converting it for use as a hotel or for residential use."
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has already said he would not have bought the building had he been in charge at the time.
He intends to spend £800,000 refitting the Poundstretcher store in Granby Street as a customer service centre, which will open at the end of the year, when the city council quits its New Walk Centre headquarters.
He said: "There has been interest in the post office but nothing firm. I am open to sensible offers."
Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey said: "I think it would make a fine hotel or restaurant.
"I hope a buyer is found soon so it is no longer a drain on council finances. It should never have bought it in the first place."
Opposition Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Porter said: "It is another example of the council haemorrhaging cash on a disused building.
"The council could put it up for sale by auction to get it off the books and get back some of the money it has already lost on a bad buy."