The leading UK construction group Kier has been confirmed as the new contractor for the Penzance Creative Cluster, an innovative new business hub in Cornwall.
Work on the three-storey building was halted after the original contractor Midas entered administration earlier in the year. The company reportedly owed £22 million to its creditors when it folded in February 2022. Other Midas projects were also temporarily paused, with Glencar taking over on a £23 million warehouse development in Surrey and Morgan Sindall replacing Midas on an £11 million Devon hotel build.
This was a worrying time for the Penzance project in particular, with concerns locally and within Cornwall Council that it would be abandoned altogether.
But in a hugely positive development, the Manchester-based company Kier has now stepped in as a replacement contractor for the business-workspace project. It will continue where the original work left off, with the hope of completing construction as soon as possible.
About the Penzance Creative Cluster
Located on Causewayhead high street in Penzance, the project aims to deliver a new hub for creative and digital businesses in the area. It will have 30 flexible workspaces and modern studios, aimed at smaller businesses and start-ups. The Penzance Creative Cluster aims to attract a diverse range of tenants, from tech start-ups to visual artists.
It is aiming for a top BREEAM sustainability rating, according to Kier’s Western and Wales area manager Chris Couch. He also told Construction News that the Penzance Creative Cluster will provide local opportunities for training, skills and career development, explaining:
“As part of the project, our Cornish-based team will be working with local schools and employment organisations to provide onsite training and work experience,” he said.
“We know this scheme is important to the local community; it will provide first-class new employment space as well as training opportunities for the next generation, as we look to leave lasting legacies in areas in which we work.”
Vital ERDF funding secured
The Penzance Creative Cluster has so far received investment from both the local council and other investors.
Cornwall Council have provided £3.5 million of funding, while an additional £6.5 million has been secured from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Commenting on the appointment of Kier and the much-needed injection of funding from the ERDF, Cornwall Council’s Louis Gardner said:
“It is great news that we have a new contractor to complete work on the project, which forms part of a wider strategy to regenerate and reinvigorate Penzance town centre.”
“With the unprecedented rise in the cost of delivering construction schemes, I am pleased we have been able to secure additional ERDF investment, as well as increase the council’s contribution, to bring this project to fruition.”
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