Ambitious plans to regenerate the former Ilkeston Co-op will include the recruitment of apprentices to give young people in Ilkeston a step onto the career ladder.
The iconic building was bought by Nottingham based ALB Investments in June.
The company, along with Newlynn Construction Management, are seeking building apprentices as part of its plan to redevelop the former department on South Street into 60 plush apartments and seven commercial units in a £4 million project.
Newlynn Construction Management is looking to employ a variety of local apprentices to assist on the project, and on a further four that it is executing with ALB Investments throughout the East Midlands.
Building work has already begun inside with the interior having been stripped down. A number of business have already shown an interest in moving into the premises and Erewash MP Maggie Throup looks set to have her office there.
Arran Bailey, 29, managing director at ALB Investments, said: “The project is well underway and we have already sent out heads of terms on a few of the commercial units, with several high street retailers stating an interest.
“In a recent news report this week, it was stated that many building contractors are looking abroad for skilled trades people, and this is a massive shame because we have some great young talent right here on our doorstep. We believe that the best way for young people to learn is whilst on the job, and we hope to help those with the enthusiasm and right attitude into work.”
The next stage of the project is putting in new shop fronts for the commercial units, which will range from 1000-1300 square feet facing South Street.
Following the installation, Newlynn Construction Management will focus on the internal fit outs.
Managing director at Newlynn Construction Management, Craig Hawes, 31, said: “Like Arran, we are very interested in investing in Ilkeston and as part of that, we believe in educating local people, especially the new wave of trades people in the area.
“We are currently carrying out five projects with ALB Investments throughout the Midlands and the Ilkeston Co-op is definitely the biggest.”
The Co-op department store closed in 2013, taking with it high-street names such as Topshop, as well as home furnishing stores. This was followed by the closure of the food hall, Post Office and credit union in June this year.
The news came as a blow for the town with many concerned about the closure of the main Post Office. As Ilkeston is the focus of a regeneration project by Erewash Borough Council, the closure led to uncertainty over the future of the building.
However, when put on the market as a whole unit, AlB Investments spotted the potential in the iconic building.
With work already underway it is only a matter of time before that part of Ilkeston is brought back to life.
More information about ALB Investments can be found at albgroup.co.uk
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