Decision day is looming for the team behind the community buyout and conversion of the former Corn Exchange pub in Crickhowell High Street.
The building is being converted into shops and flats and is due to be finished by the end of October. Corn Exchange Crickhowell Ltd (CECLtd) said they will soon have to decide what sort of businesses will go in there.
“We’ve had a lot of interest and there is still time for last-minute applications,” said Managing Director, Dean Christy, “but we are approaching the time when we have to take some tough decisions.”
More than 160 shareholders, home-hunters, potential shopkeepers and interested visitors turned up to see the new shops and flats being created at The Corn Exchange during two Open Days last weekend.
Mr Christy said, “The open days were a great opportunity for people to see the shops now they are almost finished. We have already received several strong applications, we now have to decide which ones to accept.”
“We have been committed from the start to try to find tenants who are in keeping with Crickhowell’s independent High Street and who will contribute to the vibrancy of the town – and we will do that. That may mean some applicants are disappointed,” he said.
The team have been advertising and leafletting shops all the way from Brecon to Abergavenny, Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye in their search for ideal tenants.
Each application will now be put through a scoring matrix which will measure factors such as the uniqueness of their offer and how ‘local’ the applicants are.
“But we also have to be realistic,” Mr Christy said, “we cannot afford to have the building stand empty, we are a business in the High Street and these are commercial premises. We cannot promise to satisfy everyone’s desires. We can only make decisions based upon those who have applied.”
The open days followed a massive effort by the company’s builders, Celtic Property and Lettings Ltd, to get the building ready in time and the pressure remains if they are to hit their target of handing over the keys at the end of October.
The Corn Exchange team say they expect significant interest in the flats and will make decisions on them after they have allocated the shops, but they are certain they will be filled quickly.
CECLtd say they also received share applications totalling more than £10,500 across the weekend with more expected to follow – which is helping to close their funding shortfall.
Finance Director, Peter Roberts, said, “The vast majority of our investors are small shareholders who put in £500 or £1,000 because they wanted to be part of this amazing project and protect our High Street from the threat of a national chain supermarket. They saw the chance to own part of their town and decide the future of a much loved listed building. We still have shares to sell, so it’s not too late to get involved.
“We are so close to achieving that aim and so close to finishing the project – we just need to town to get behind us again one last time,” Mr Roberts said.