The run down St James House in Grimsby is to be brought to life as a business hub.
North East Lincolnshire Council cabinet has given permission to use £1.5million of allocated Towns Funding for the project. The building could attract small businesses to the town centre to help rejuvenate it.
Grimsby social enterprise E-factor will acquire and transform the building once the government cash is released.
The arches would be closed to become shops, cafés and workshops under the plans, making pedestrians in the area feel safer, while the upper floors would become offices.
Councillor Philip Jackson said: “St James House has been run down for many years, and with the success of the Wilkin Chapman building on Cartergate and the redevelopment of St James Square, a key heritage asset in the town, the next step was to deal with the redundant building in a way that can increase footfall in the town centre and provide benefit to other local businesses.
“I’m delighted E-Factor has put forward these proposals, which bring a new dimension to St James Square, a fantastic heritage asset in our town centre. We are extremely pleased to support this scheme.”
The St James House designs are one of six currently being drawn up for utilise Grimsby’s Towns Fund.
Mark Webb, managing director of E-Factor, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that our investment proposals have been received so well. We recognise that this building has been empty and deteriorating for over a decade and with our investment, supported by the Towns Fund, we are confident we can bring it back to life.
“We’re planning to purchase and redevelop the building to provide quality business accommodation for a variety of local businesses and entrepreneurs, there will also be space for small business events/exhibitions as well as workshops to support local business people.
“As an independent ‘not for profit’ company, dedicated to supporting the huge contribution local business owners make to this town, E-Factor will once again be providing wrap around business support, easy-in easy-out terms and all the guidance we can give to help create and grow successful local businesses.
“The more people who do business in the town centre, the better it will be for shops and restaurants also located there.”
Councillors have previously been assured that there is plenty of demand from small businesses for the space.
When the plans came to the Economy Scrutiny panel, Councillor Dawkins described the potential acquisition as “a massive boost to the town centre.”
The building’s regeneration would complete the revamp of St James’ Square, which reopened in May after a £1.8million makeover.