What is the future for Liverpool's Dale Street?
The council are in the process of smartening up the pavements in the one of busiest streets in Liverpool's business district.
And it's not before time that this important street (which gave it's name to this blog, scroll to the bottom of the page if you don't know why) was spruced up.
Mending the pavements is all well and good, but what about the fabric of the street - its buildings?
Over the past few years millions of public money has been spent creating new office space around Old Hall Street. It has seen a shift in the centre of gravity of the business district towards Old Hall Street.
So while shiny new buildings have been built quickly less than two minutes walk away, grand historical buildings have been going to rack and ruin in Dale Street.
No where more so than the former Royal Insurance building at the corner with North John Street.
A couple of weeks back the corner of building opposite the council's own Municipal Buildings offices had to be demolished because it was in danger of collapse. Passersby are greeted with a temporary blue tarpoulin nailed to the side of the building that looks like it will struggle to keep out the elements when winter comes.
In 2007 Jamaica House was demolished because it had also become dangerous due to its derelict state. In it's place sits a scrap of land that is used as a makeshift car park.
We are told there are plans to create a hotel and shops in the former Pioneer Buildings, but that may be some time off yet.
Of course, it's easier to build new buildings than restore old faded gems. And dealing with owners that can't afford or are not willing to invest can be troublesome. But just because something's hard does not mean it's not worth doing.
Dale Street is one of the main thoroughfares in the city centre, yet parts like some throw back to the 1970s or 80s with a grimy magistrates court at the end of the street and the weird looking former HSBC building at the other (which is now becoming a Spar).
Sadly the opportunity to truely revitalise this important street and restore it has probably been missed. Finance is still hard to come by for private enterprise and the public sector is facing the biggest spending squeeze in a generation.
Local government in the UK is not able to offer incentives in the way others across the globe are. The only real mechanism has been grant funding from places like the North West Development Agency. But the money from the NWDA is not what it used to be.
So what then for historical buildings in places like Dale Street?