A Glenrothes eyesore which has been a stumbling block in plans to redevelop the Albany Gate entrance to the town centre, could soon be demolished.
The former Co-op building, built in 1964 and once a thriving department store, has lain empty since 2012.
But now Kingdom Shopping Centre owners, Mars Pension Fund, has taken control of the building’s lease from Co-op’s parent company CIS/AXA and is earmarked for demolition as part of proposals soon to be put forward to redevelop the area.
However, clearing the three-storey structure would take some considerable effort due to the problem of asbestos within the dilapidated building.
And with those now in control of the building being liable for business rates on the property, the Gazette understands an immediate demolition of the former department store is the preferred option.
LaSalle Investment Management, the company which manages the Kingdom Centre on behalf of owners Mars, has made no secret of its frustration over previous unsuccessful attempts to take control of the building, or their long-term desire to redevelop the area and create a night-time and early evening economy.
The news has been warmly welcomed by Glenrothes Area Futures Group (GAFG) which has worked tirelessly behind the scenes in recent years to help revitalise the town centre.
“We are pleased to finally see some movement on the future of the former Co-op building, there is a renewed optimism regarding the future of the town centre and the desire to create a sustainable centre that for so long has been lacking,” said Dr Bob Grant, chairman.
“The town has steadily been losing footfall to other areas including the retail park in Kirkcaldy and further afield to places like Perth, Dundee and Dunfermline, a revitalised Glenrothes town centre would help stem that loss and help attract people back to the town.”
Councillor Bill Brown, chairman of Glenrothes area committee, said the site represented a huge opportunity to rejuvenate that end of the town centre.
He added: “I can’t wait to see plans, this is yet another exciting prospect for Glenrothes.”
Fellow councillor Ross Vettraino said: “I welcome any measure which will make it easy for the centre owners to improve the area and make it a profitable commercial centre.
“It will take a huge financial commitment but is an exciting prospect and underlines the owner’s intention to make improvements.”
Cllr Altany Craik said the development proposal at what is a busy entrance to the town, could offer huge benefits for the town’s image.
He said: “This has the potential to alter the whole look and feel of that entrance to the town centre, injecting a vibrancy that has been sadly lacking for some time.
“A thoughtful design could trigger many new opportunities.”