£450k boost for Fenwick revamp plans

Plans for a major revamp of Leicester’s historic former Fenwick building are set to get a boost with £450,000 of council investment for a new flexible workspace.

Leicester City Council has announced plans to create almost 12,000sqft of flexible co-working business workspace in part of the ground floor and basement of the 1880s-built four-storey property in Market Street.

The city council will invest £450,000 to fund the fit-out and set up costs of the proposed workspace and then take a 25-year lease on the new space. Council funding for the proposed co-working scheme will come from capital set aside for the Leicester Economic Action Plan.

This will support and complement Aimrok Holdings’ £17million plans for the building which will see it converted it into a 121-bedroom aparthotel, including a hotel lobby bar, restaurant and gym facilities, together with a series of ground floor and basement commercial units. The new development will be called ‘The Gresham’, in a historic nod to the building’s original name.

Serviced co-working business space is a growing market that is particularly attractive to start-up companies, freelancers, sole traders and small businesses looking for a flexible and affordable workspace.

This would be the first dedicated co-working business space to be developed in Leicester, though similar facilities are becoming more common in other cities including Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Coventry.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The ambitious plans for the redevelopment of the former Fenwicks building will bring a huge benefit to other businesses in this part of the city centre.

“Building on the success of our workspaces at LCB Depot, Makers Yard and Dock, this new flexible co-working business space will offer a very attractive option for freelancers and for new and small businesses looking for a city centre base.

“We’re very excited to be able to play a part in the exciting wider redevelopment plans for this historic and important building.”

Andrew Crainey, managing director of Aimrok Holdings, said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the City Mayor and Leicester City Council. The council are seasoned operators in this particular property class and we believe that this partnership is a substantial step forward in restoring this iconic building to its former glory.

“Facilitating the council’s new workspace and providing the addition of new commercial units alongside a landmark hotel will help in the regeneration of the heart of this city and give confidence to local businesses to further increase the offering that Leicester provides visitors and residents alike.”

Aimrok Holdings are finalising the investment required for the overall scheme, and building work is due to begin in early 2020.