AN empty building at the heart of a multi-million-pound city centre regeneration project will re-open as a restaurant.

The former Panama Jacks restaurant in Angel Street will reopen as JAX Bar and Grill under new proposals meaning Worcester City Council has now scrapped plans to buy the building.

Earlier this year, the council said it was eyeing up the former restaurant as one part of its huge regeneration project in the area which includes a new performing arts venue, shops, restaurants and housing.

The work, which is being carried in part by the almost £18 million awarded to the city from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, will see the grade II-listed Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange buildings in Angel Street transformed into a new performing arts venue.

The neighbouring eyesore former Co-op supermarket would also be transformed into shops, restaurants and offices.

Latest images show potential for the building to be converted into a food court complete with roof garden.

Original plans showed the city council taking over the former restaurant which has been empty for a number of years and has gone through various guises including steakhouse Panama Jacks and a Chinese buffet restaurant.

The council said the money that would have been used to bring the building back into use will now be spent on the new Scala plans.

A planning application for the redevelopment of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange is expected to be submitted next summer.

An update on the regeneration plans, which will be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee next Tuesday, said the council is expecting the regeneration work to have finished by the end of 2024.

A report commissioned by the council has suggested using the former Co-op supermarket opposite the two listed buildings as rehearsal space and offices for the new venue.

The council has however recommended keeping its options for the former Angel Street supermarket open as those plans would affect how much money the building could make in the future.

Earlier this year, the council said it was looking to buy Trinity House, which sits on the corner of St Nicholas Street and Queen Street, with the building converted into apartments.