Entrepreneur Simon Rigby has extended his portfolio of properties across Preston - snapping up a council-owned office building to help start-up businesses.
The owner of the Guild Hall has bought Premier House in Church Street, to become known as No. 1 The Guild, which will become “incubator units” for new arts-based organisations.
Mr Rigby, who also owns the Guild Centre, said: “It all knits together very nicely for us. We are very happy to be investing in Preston again.
“We bought the Guild Centre and we see this as a further investment in the development of Preston generally, but also the Guild Hall as a centre for arts and leisure.” Mr Rigby said small arts and culture-related businesses could use the space, and explained: “Most need a small admin venue, access to a ticket office, and small rooms for maybe auditions, bigger rooms for rehearsals, and then great big theatres to put shows on.
“No. 1 The Guild is a fantastic set-up with little offices, we are intending to bring it up to date, but the intention is to have small, serviced offices.
“Our intention is to have that hopefully for arts and cultural-led activities, which is right at the centre of what the Guild Hall is all about, but we are very happy to have commercial tenants in there as well.”
Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, said: “Simon and his team’s transformation of the Guild Hall is a huge success story for Preston. He’s invested not only significant sums of money but time, energy and expertise into the cultural heart of Preston city centre.
“Simon now wants to take this to the next level with further major investment in the city centre, by taking on Premier House to compliment his investment in the Guild Hall complex.”
“It’s yet more evidence of the growing confidence and investment that’s flowing into Preston as a city.
“We look forward to working with Simon, and his expert team, in seeing the plans take shape.”