Property services company Ian Williams, which has offices in nearby Tamerton Foliot, was awarded the £1 million project following a competitive tendering process.
The company who are now on site have begun erecting up fences to secure the location and started to prepare the interior of the building.
Ian Williams who strongly believes in investing within the local economy and communities where they work, already employs 68 staff from PL postcodes. As part of the contract they will appoint an additional two permanent local employees and two apprentices as well as offer five work placements.
Once the 26 week conversion project is complete, the property will be home to the Four Greens Community Economic Development Trust, who plan to rent out business units and flexible space within the building.
The building will be divided into two sections. One part will house two large community spaces, kitchen area and headquarter office for the trust, and an upper area to provide office facilities for the Council’s Early Years’ Service, including midwifery and health.
The other part of the building will be an economic hub with 14 business units and rooms. There will also be new business start-up space alongside employment and training opportunities to help adults and young people learn new skills to help them on the road to employment.
The trust has already secured its anchor tenants – Whitleigh Big Local and the Council’s Early Years Service – providing space for delivering family services and community activity.
Stuart Weddle, business manager from Ian Williams said: “We are really delighted to win this contract and work with the local community. We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and understand the importance the new hub will bring to the people of Whitleigh.
“We, without doubt, value any initiatives that provide people with opportunities to succeed and are thrilled to be part of a project that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Vince Burke, FGCT Board member, who has been closely involved with the development of the project said: “The completed building will provide a dedicated community and business facility that is able to meet the needs of the trust, its partners and the local community.
“As a hub, it will be the driving force in bringing skills and employment opportunities into the area as well as delivering community benefits.”
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “I’m really proud that we have got to this significant point so quickly. This part of Plymouth has not had the facilities it needs for either bringing a community together or giving local residents business and skills opportunities enjoyed by other parts of the city.
“This is why we invested in this project; this is why we are so committed to this scheme – not only will it create up to 60 jobs but the wider benefits of those jobs together with new opportunities is invaluable.”
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Housing added: “We are really excited to see working starting at the site. It makes everything feel more real and I hope local people will feel as positive as we do at creating somewhere for people to be and to learn new skills and take advantage of new opportunities.”
Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Change and ward councillor said: “Huge progress is being made – it’s not just the physical work that is getting underway. Having two anchor tenants committing to the building is great news for the long term sustainability of the project.”