A state of the art brand new enterprise centre has been completed in one of Plymouth's most deprived areas. The £4.7 million Stonehouse area project, which took three years to complete, was created to provide small companies and start-up businesses with a new home. The aim is to restore the urban fabric along Union Street and contribute to the aspirations of the adopted Millbay and Stonehouse Area Action Plan.

The managed office accommodation is arranged in a series of lettable units of variable size designed to support the needs of start-up businesses and to enhance employment opportunities within the Stonehouse Community.  The development of the Genesis Building managed workspace project in Plymouth achieved practical completion in February 2015.  Funding has been provided through DCLG’s ERDF Competitiveness programme, the Growing Places Fund via the SW Local Enterprise Partnership and Millfields Trust reserves.

The Genesis building incorporates cutting edge sustainability to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ 2011 standards, exemplary accessible design criteria and is designed and built to BCO office standards.

A collaborative team-working relationship between Millfields Trust, Macegreen Consulting, Form Design Architects and Midas Construction in this £4.7m exemplar project.

Macegreen Consulting, which was appointed as Project Managers by Millfields Trust, ensured the project completed on time and within budget and was instrumental in helping deliver Millfields’ vision for new managed office workspace within the Genesis Building.

The building design embeds environmental awareness with low energy consumption and running costs.  It also boasts the largest fully irrigated vertical living wall this side of Bristol, softening the appearance of the building, while helping to promote biodiversity.

Carved Portland stone feature panels are also mounted on the building depicting scenes of emerging industry in Plymouth.

The main contractor sought at every opportunity during the two stage design and build project to appoint local trades and suppliers, culminating in more than 300 people employed during the 14 month build period, as well as taking on 6 new trade apprentices.

The ERDF said the project demonstrated sufficiently robust financial processes and is considered and exemplar in terms of ensuring the construction stage offered employment opportunities to local residents.

There was also engagement with local schools and local community throughout the design and construction stages. one initiative via Millfields Inspired, the charity formed by Millfields trust, was to invite schoolgirls from six Stonehouse schools to visit the new site on Union Street to see first-hand the type of jobs involved in building a development of this scale and talk to real-life women in construction, such as Building Surveyors, Engineers and Architects.

The 22,000 sq ft Genesis Building includes 34 units of various sizes, from three desks up to 3,000 sq ft providing exceptionally high standards of contemporary office space for over 200 people.

Roger Pipe, from Millfields Trust, said: “We are really pleased with the outcome, it does say a lot about the strength and good management of our project.”