NORTHAMPTON Borough Council has appointed Stepnell Ltd as its contractor for the Vulcan Works project to construct and deliver a new managed workspace facility for creative enterprises.
The scheme, costing around £14m, will create a total of 59 lettable units - specifically aimed at start-ups and growing businesses - in the area between Guildhall Road, Angel Street, Fetter Street and St John's Street.
It will restore the historic and Grade II listed former iron works factory in the heart of the Cultural Quarter, as well as constructing a new block on Angel Street to create the new office, studio and managed workshops.
Preliminary work already completed includes demolition of the former Amalgamated Tyres building, asbestos removal and archaeological work.
Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "This scheme has been some time in the making and we are delighted that we should have contractors on site within weeks.
"Northampton is one of the most entrepreneurial places in the country and Vulcan Works will provide space for new businesses to establish and thrive.
"This means that, with current work on the extension and renovation of the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, we've been able to commit around £22 million into our blossoming cultural quarter during the past year."
Stepnell contracts manager, John Neill, said: "Stepnell will draw on a wealth of new-build and conservation construction expertise to deliver this imaginative project for Northampton's emerging Cultural Quarter.
"We're excited to be involved in a scheme which will conserve a building of such importance to Northampton's industrial heritage as well as delivering vibrant, modern workspaces where creative businesses can flourish."
South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3m and £3.06m from the European Regional Development Fund. The Council is covering the remaining costs.
Once construction is under way, an operator will be sought to run the facility on behalf of the Council. The project will be complete by autumn next year.
During its first ten years of operation, Vulcan Works is expected to support up to 100 businesses, creating around 300 jobs.