WORK to redevelop a cluster of heritage buildings into a contemporary home for creative businesses in Leicester city centre is now under way.
Contractors have moved onto the city council-owned site at Pilot House – a former factory on King Street – to start the ambitious regeneration scheme.
The five separate but interconnected buildings will be transformed into 60,000sqft of high quality accommodation for start-up and growing businesses that will support more than 250 new jobs.
When tenants move in – from spring 2025 – they’ll find meeting and conference facilities, a café and kitchen, a courtyard to the rear and a range of workspaces, including a co-working lounge for creative tech and digital businesses.
Existing industrial features, including parquet flooring and exposed brick and beams, will be retained, while a new entrance will be created from King Street (pictured).
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This project will transform a group of architecturally significant heritage buildings into a creative hub for start-up and growing businesses and a landmark destination that will become a source of pride for Leicester.
“Not only will it contribute to the wider regeneration of the Belvoir Street, Market Street and New Walk areas, and complement developments like the Gresham Building, it will also create hundreds of high quality new jobs – including more of the skilled roles that will encourage graduates from Leicester’s two universities to remain in the city when their studies are over.
“It’s great news that this scheme is now under way. Backed by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, it will give a huge boost to the city’s growth and economic recovery.”
Contractor Henry Brothers Construction has been appointed by the city council to deliver the £13.3m scheme.
Managing director Ian Taylor said: “We are very excited to have been appointed to this renovation project, which will breathe new life into the historic Pilot House and help to boost Leicester’s economy and growth.
“It’s a superb development which includes the retention of industrial features.
“Henry Brothers has significant experience of working on heritage and renovation projects and we are very pleased to have now started on site with our team and alongside our partners.”
Other members of the construction team include architects RG+P and structural engineer M-EC.
The Pilot House scheme will support the city’s creative and design sector, becoming a permanent base for businesses of varying sizes – from start-ups to established firms. Tenants could include designer makers, design practices, software and tech designers, and fashion and textile businesses.
When it opens for business in spring 2025, the new centre will be run by the city council team that manages the successful LCB Depot on Rutland Street.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme can email workspace development manager James Burkmar at firstname.lastname@example.org
The redevelopment of Pilot House is supported by £8.6m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, with the city council contributing £4.7m towards the £13.3m scheme.
The Government’s Levelling Up Fund is designed to finance long-term, significant capital projects that create jobs, encourage new investment and enable businesses to grow.
Artist’s impression of the new King Street entrance to Pilot House