Central issue

The future of the former Metal Box building looks no more secure after its sale to Prudential.

This brilliantly eccentric 1970s oddball building, wrecked inside and overshadowed by One Reading Central next door, looks set to disappear at some point in the next few years.

It may have a little while yet though. Cable & Wireless are paying rent for another three years. But with only new Grade A office space shifting in Reading these days, Pru will no doubt be looking to redevelop.

The recession has already given the building a stay of execution. Original plans for Two and Three Reading Central would have taken the development right up to Forbury Retail Park. And there was once council plans to allow that to disappear for flats. But that looks a distant dream now

Now the most likely thing seems to be demolition for Two Reading Central which will probably look like One Reading Central. At least the prospect of Three Reading Central ever appearing looks very far in the future.

But since there are still empty floors on One Reading Central, the market is hardly ready for another glassy block. And if that means a chance for Metal Box surviving then that’s got to be positive.

The danger is it’s merit will only be recognised when it’s gone.

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About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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