Premises Green Lane
Biography > Hills Electrical > Premises
Premises For Sale
It was in 1987 that I was driving to work and for some reason I decided to drive up Green Lane. A for sale sign had just gone up outside the the Kendrick’s building which was a large double gabled industrial building. The Kendrick’s building was used as a coal distribution depot with a petrol station outside the front of it. Planning permission for it’s use was granted in 1952 and it had been moving coal around ever since. However the coal industry had been decimated by the battles between the government and the miners and it was no longer viable. The Kendrick family had moved on into bingo and was now doing rather nicely.
Buying The Premises
We’ve been looking for some time for some premises to extend into and they seemed absolutely ideal. Immediately got onto Fraser would and Mayo who were the estate agents and offered them their asking price on the spot and we had a meeting with the people that were selling it.
Really, I had no idea what I was buying, but it turned out to be 2.1 acres with a 10,000 sq ft building and 2 houses. Even in 1987 £200K was a bargain.
The Estate Agents started to say the price had gone up because they thought it undervalued. We said no, no, no we’ve offered you what you asked and we expect to get it for that. They caved in and we bought it for the price they asked.
Then we went to the architectural practice Mason Richards in Wolverhampton and ask them to design the exterior of what would be a nice new building. Somehow I was left to choose the design and I ended up with a very flat faced front with two huge arched windows in it.
At the front were going to be offices with the first floor above, and behind that there was going to be a storage area with some stores for the vans and for whatever materials we wanted. Linford’s, the builders, were hired to carry out the construction and it went fairly well. Instead of demolishing the existing building they put a new brick skin on the outside and reroofed the building. The interior was completely revamped.
They laid an enormous new concrete floor, but put no expansion joints in. This meant they had to cut out enormous amounts of the concrete floor again to put the expansion joints in.
After the usual arguments, the bill was settled and we had possession. We decided to move in in early 1988.
I must admit as we started our new adventure in the new premises I felt that it was me that was driving it forward without any support from the rest of the staff.Times had changed – when my father moved into the Leamore Lane premises – several of the staff wrote nice letters saying thankyou. Now the administrative staff asked for a pay rise due to the 2 miles extra they had top travel. It was closer for some, of course, but they kept quiet. I had to give in and award a pay rise.
Since staff were paid if they came in or not – sickness absences amongst the administrative staff started to rise. In fact when I worked it out – we were losing about 10% of their time. So I offered them a 10% pay rise if they agreed not to be paid when they were “sick”. They agreed and absences became a thing of the past. As time went on – they forgot about the deal and absences started to creep up again. I couldn’t work the deal twice – so I dropped it.
After The Move In
After we moved in we managed to get an expansion grant from the government. You had to prove you couldn’t expand without the grant. The government department coached us on the wording for the application and then they approved it. They gave us £110K, tax free which was jolly nice.
The local council liked the deal as well and tarmacked Alma St as part of their contribution. I’ve no idea why they wanted to do it.
The purchase had include 2 houses and an area of land to the rear of the main plot. I sold them off at a low price to get a quick sale.
Business Expands Extension Built
For the next 11 years or so we grew and employed more and more people until the accounts department was bursting at the seams. So we then built the ground floor extension that is there today. There was a large open plan area with specially designed desk pods and some offices for wages and the department supervisors.
It all looked very bare – so we built a water feature with bridges which looked amazing. Some bright spark decided to put plastic ducks on it.
In 2008 SSE took over the company after a series of awful contracts. They agreed two leases, for the main depot area, the final one lasting until they quit the premises in 2016.
In 2017 the main depot area underwent a massive refit in order that a dialysis company called Diaverum could move in. They continue to occupy the building today.
The extension was not included in the SSE lease or subsequent ones for the front of the building. I have carried on using it as serviced offices. Initially I let it to Breathing Space – the charity with the idea that they could sell the space on at a profit. I spent considerable sums upgrading the accommodation and attracted a series of tenants.
I used it to provide accommodation for my telephone company which was initially called Cloud Net and then upon the demand of Sky, who owned the word Cloud apparently, became Birchills Telecom. We moved out to Aldridge in 2011.
Unfortunately when SSE decided to quit everyone was spooked and I was left with an empty building. I used the opportunity to carry out yet another major refurb and then started to let the premises gradually. As I write it is about 75% full.
Over the decade that it has been rented out we have seen a dazzling array of companies, but the main theme has been social care.