The founder of mobile phone giant Carphone Warehouse has said it still wants to develop the former mill it owns in Preston.
Sir Charles Dunstone, chairman of the firm which employs hundreds of people at its major call centre at Tulketh Mill in Ashton, has said it remains “wholly committed” to developing the building including a hotel and restaurant.
It has completed the first phase of the the masterplan with the creation of a parade of shops including Tesco Express, Greggs and Subway and demolishing the former Tyco sheds in Blackpool Road.
The plan includes ambitions to create a hotel, a bar, restaurant and training hub for Carphone Warehouse’s thousands of call centre staff across the country.
Sir Charlese said it had spoken to potential tenants about moving into the development, but said the “timing was not right” for a people to make the step.
He said: “We would love to do more. There has been a lot of talks with potential operators for hotels and bars in the area, but the timing was not right.
“It has to be market-led, we cannot afford to go building a hotel unless we have an operator signed up, that is the market we are in.
“We are very committed to Tulketh Mill, we own the building, so we have no plan to walk away.”
He said the company had completed a clean up of the Grade II-listed former cotton mill which had made the top two floors of the building ready to be occupied by a tenant.
The billioniare, who is the sponsor behind Fulwood Academy through his charitable trust, said Carphone had spent £48,000 on each of the huge windows in the former mill.
It has hundreds of staff on the site in its sales, IT, training and Geek Squad technical support service.
TalkTalk, the internet group set up by Mr Dunstone which split from Carphone in 2010, handed over the running of its operations at Tulketh Mill to call centre operator, Careline Service, six months ago.
The move led to a large number of staff leaving.
Careline managing director Charles Cooper-Driver said it wanted to create “between 200 and 250 new jobs.”