Around 200 jobs could be created thanks to plans to give a Hartlepool town centre building a new use.
Rob Collier’s award-winning firm Advanced Retail Solutions has taken over the former Hartlepool Mail offices in Wesley Square.
The firm will use the ground floor of the three-storey building as its own base.
The two other floors will be converted into 32 premium quality office suites for companies to lease.
Advanced Retail Solutions plans to switch from its current home on the Queens Meadow Business Park and be up and running within five weeks.
Ten extra people are being taken on immediately to increase the workforce from seven to 17. Another 30 could be on the books by 2018 as more orders come in.
The building will be thriving. It will be a central location as a business hub, for anything from small to medium enterprises to major business.Rob Collier
Meanwhile, the two floors of office suites will be ready in eight to 12 weeks time, and each capable of accommodating between four and eight staff.
A substantial sum has been invested in the building which will also have;
l A new glass and chrome fronted reception area.
l Meeting rooms.
l Conference rooms.
l Kitchens and bathrooms on every floor.
l A loading bay and stock area for Advanced Retail Solutions.
l Fibre optics and wi-fi for the firms which move into the high-end office suites.
Rob said: “It excites me. The vision is there.
“We have had to diversify massively in the last few years and we can not rely on one climate.
“The building will be thriving. It will be a central location as a business hub, for anything from small to medium enterprises to major business.
“Because of the spend we have put into the building, it will be premium office suites for any business up to multi-national companies.
“If you are looking to attract staff, this is a central location. There is no better location.”
Advanced Retail Solutions supplies major retailers all over the UK, including professional hairdressing services as well as hair care products, hair colouring and associated sundries. The company also brands and develops products for the industry.
It won Best Small Business and Most Promising New Business at the 2015 Hartlepool Business Awards.
Now Rob is expanding and planning to have his own manufacturing facility. The firm has already invested in the machinery which get into operation as soon as the business moves from Queens Meadow.
P & A Construction were brought in as the principal contractors to handle the work on the building which is almost ready to be moved into.
* The Mail is now operating from our office in Scarborough Street. Our reporter Mark Payne can be contacted on (01429) 865475.