RW Stokes & Sons has officially been handed the keys to start work converting The Lawn into a new £1.5 million head office.
As previously reported, the coffee specialists were selected as the preferred bidder in November 2014, later revealing its initial designs for the development of the Grade II listed building in December 2015.
The contracts were exchanged on Monday, August 1, after two years, and now Stokes are finding contractors so that work can begin.
Stokes plan to convert the former ‘lunatic asylum’ into an in-house roastery, with packaging, storage, offices, a viewing area and a café and restaurant.
It will also be host to a barista training centre, running accredited courses for hotels, restaurants and cafés throughout the UK who wish to serve Stokes coffee in their businesses.
Stokes will also rejuvenate the existing theatre on site, creating an artistic hub for local dance schools and drama groups as well as host regular music events.
The investment is expected to create 16 jobs as well as up to 100 additional jobs through other outlets on the site.
The first phase is already underway as the Joseph Banks Conservatory, including fish and plants, is moved to its new home at Woodside Wildlife Park, east of the city.
The next phase will be to improve car parking in the uphill area of Lincoln, which will start on August 15. It will see spaces more than double, going from 100 to 215 spaces and will continue to be run by City of Lincoln Council.
Established in 1902, the fourth generation family run business have occupied the famous Tudor High Bridge Café on the High Bridge which spans the River Witham.
They have been roasting coffee and blending tea since that time and the wholesale business has grown so much that they have now outgrown their production capacity at the warehouse on Mint Lane.
Currently, the sourcing, blending, roasting and packing for the company all happen in this building but will be moved to its new head office once it is complete.
Nick Peel, Managing Director of Stokes, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have completed the sale of the Lawns. It is so exciting to think about what lies ahead of us and we are looking forward to the challenges of taking on another iconic building in Lincoln.”
Stokes are also keen to see the space used by other local businesses and Banks Long and Co. have already been approached with some interesting propositions.